REFLECTING ON AUTHORITY'S FIRST CONFERENCE
The River Reflections conference in Griffith was a great opportunity for people with diverse views and relationships with water in the Basin to come together.
The comprehensive program included almost an A-Z of interests: agronomists, economists, elected representatives, farmers, First Nations representatives, fishers, irrigators, scientists and others were among the presenters and in the audience.
My personal reflections on the conference are many, but what I appreciated the most was this: I listened, I learnt, and I heard some quite different perspectives which was one of the main purposes of the conference. I made some new contacts and established relationships, but importantly got to refresh and deepen some existing relationships by being able to meet people from all over the Basin and in particular the Griffith region.
Water management, and more importantly water reform, is a multi-faceted jewel and it can be hard to pick up all the different sides of the debate. So often within the media and in our rush to find solutions we don't always understand adequately enough the differences of view and the subtleties within them.
I believe the conference - our first - went a long way to help us all gain a shared understanding.
Early feedback from attendees has been overwhelmingly positive, with many anecdotes focusing on the valued opportunities to connect, consider and converse with people offering a variety of viewpoints. The presenters were generous in sharing their knowledge and even though not all agreed on some discussion points, there was genuine appreciation of the chance to hear and reflect on the angles put forward.
I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to try just some of the quality food and wine produced in the local region. What a wonderful and diverse bounty! It really helped frame some of the "why" around how important water is to many local economies and communities.
I believe the MDBA's increased regional presence of having a third of our workforce outside Canberra is paying dividends and hosting a conference such as this in Griffith has been a winner.
I'm looking forward to next year's conference in the Sunraysia to build on these important conversations.
Phillip Glyde, MDBA CEO
TIME TO CONFINE OUR CATS
Many local residents burn with white-hot anger at domestic cats roaming through their properties at any time of the day or night, pooping in their freshly turned vegie patches, flower beds and children's sandbox, scaring and killing the native wildlife in their gardens, spraying their plants and buildings and even wandering into their houses.
But currently in NSW, there is absolutely nothing a person can do about it, because the definition of a "nuisance cat" puts a virtually impossible burden of proof - documented "repeated" physical damage - on the offended property owner.
The argument that roaming domestic cats are "just doing what cats do" is ridiculous.
All animals roam if allowed to, otherwise councils wouldn't employ rangers to round them up.
We don't allow dogs or domestic stock to roam freely through the neighbourhood, so why are domestic cats exempt? It beggars belief.
To try and stop this, I have started an online petition to confine cats to their owner's property.
Confinement is recommended by the RSPCA and is in line with best-practice animal welfare.
The petition has received nearly 5600 signatures in two weeks. It can be found by typing in "Confine Domestic Cats in New South Wales."
If you are as sick and tired of domestic cats roaming at will, sign the petition. You will never get a better chance to make your feeling known.
Allan Greer, Mudgee
GOT SOMETHING TO SHARE WITH GRIFFITH?
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