A Griffith group has raised questions about the effectiveness of the Murray Darling Association (MDA) ahead of its annual conference in Leeton this month.
The MDA is the peak body representing local government and communities from across the basin. Griffith Business Chamber’s President Paul Pierotti feels the MDA has been “hijacked” by South Australian councils, but not everyone is so sure.
“Unfortunately that organisation seems to be unrepresentative of real basin communities. It is obviously stacked or hijacked by councils who are not in the Murray Darling Basin, particularly metropolitan councils of Adelaide,” Mr Pierotti said.
”The organisation does not seem reflective of the views of the Murrumbidgee Valley. We strongly recommend this be addressed immediately at the AGM and withdraw any non-basin councils as a member or councils.”
Mr Pierotti suggested the MDA’s role in representing basin communities be taken over by regional joint organisations.
MDA Chief Executive Officer, Emma Bradbury said it was essential councils exercised their voices through active participation.
“The relationship between the MDA and Griffith City Council and the communities they serve is long standing and highly valued,” she said
“The MDA is as strong as the councils who are active participants on it. It is absolutely essential exercise their voice through the peak body to make sure there strong representation.”
Ms Bradbury also acknowledged Griffith Business Chamber’s role as “a representative for businesses and industries in the region”.
“Priorities across the basin will vary, but the reality is we are all there to govern across our communities with the same objective,” she said.
Mr Pierotti said his claims come after Murray River Council opted out of the association.
Griffith mayor John Dal Broi dismissed claims the association wasn’t a good way for the Murrumbidgee region to lobby on water issues.
“I think it’s very unbecoming of the president of the business chamber to be making comments about an organisation that is represented by four major states in the Murray Darling Basin,” he said.