Helen Dalton and Deb Buller reply to MDBA CEO Phillip Glyde

Phillip Glyde is correct about one thing, we are both passionate about regional and rural communities and why wouldn’t we be?

We live and work here, we’re generational, our livelihoods depend on a healthy, productive environment.

Disappointingly, the CEO of the MDBA in his explanation of water pricing has veered into bureaucratic nit picking and buck passing.

This behaviour, we’re noticing, tends to be chronic in high level government employees.

To clarify very briefly, the extra costs in the Murray Valley are indeed a result of Water NSW being given authority by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to ‘pass through’ the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s (MDBA) extra operational costs onto irrigators in the Murray Valley.

We attended the meetings and read the submissions.

There’s no misunderstanding at all Mr Glyde.

At no point did we claim that the MDBA was charging irrigators in NSW directly.

The important words in our article are: “pass through.”

We clearly stated that: WaterNSW who are our NSW river operators will be able to pass through the extra costs incurred by the MDBA in the Murray Valley.

To deflect and in an effort to pretend the extra costs incurred by the added presence of the MDBA has nothing to do with raised charges in the Murray Valley will not assist in building any trust with regional and rural communities.

These added costs will be passed through to already bewildered and beaten up communities who constantly ask questions like, “are they delivering value for money?”, “Do they understand the concept of Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA)?”, “Are they focusing on cost effective and efficient outcomes for the riverine environments?” “Why are they ignoring genuine concerns about water quality and riparian management?” and “Where is the streamlining, rationalisation and efficiencies that were promised to our vibrant, purpose built, irrigation communities in NSW over 10 years ago?”

Our message has always been clear.

Yes, there are amazing things happening out here, but that’s because this is a great region, filled with highly talented and passionate people with enormous potential.

Unfortunately, it’s not because of recent tussling and confusion and buck passing between state and federal government water management policies, pricings or regulations, very much including that extra pass through to High Security licenses in the Murray Valley.

Helen Dalton and Deb Buller write fortnightly opinions for The Area News.