BLOG: Basin Communities Leadership Program - Northern Basin workshops

15 Apr 2021
BLOG: Basin Communities Leadership Program - Northern Basin workshops

Now I am back in the office, I've taken the time to reflect on these sessions and the feedback we received from our participants. The message from these members of our Murray Darling communities is clear- this program is transformative for it's participants.

When we designed the MDA BCLP, it was written with the aim of harnessing the local knowledge to shape and support our national priorities, and empowering communities to not just be part of the solution but to lead it.

When it comes to the use of water, we recognise a key principle, and that is: everyone has a valid and legitimate claim to a safe and secure supply of water to meet their respective needs. While there will always be isolated incidents of individual wrongdoing, at a sector level, there are no ‘bad-guys’ of water use. We know that everyone is entitled to a safe, secure water supply. So it comes down to getting the balance right.

We know for any one of us to win, we have to all win. For one of us to succeed, we all must be succeeding. In the water arena, this principle is paramount. We must all have the opportunity to prosper, to be able to access systems to achieve health and well being, for our vibrant connected communities to be able to realise their potential.

What we've been able to do through the MDA BCLP is to identify this core issue and work from the premise and principle that the solutions to local problems exist within our local community. All of our local communities are rich with extraordinary people. And all of their communities have a very similar, if not the same, aspiration - For their communities to be healthy and connected, with opportunity for economic development, prosperity, and health. The key to this health is a connected ecosystem and environment.

For solution-based legislation to be sustainable, it must be cognisant of and connected to the communities that will be at the endpoint of legislation. Be it upstream or downstream communities, the legislative solutions need to be driven by the concept of neighbour to neighbour in mind. For solutions to work in your community they must not adversely impact your neighbours.

Through these alumni, our MDA BCLP is then able to build a broader cohort of individuals and community groups to connect communities, upstream and downstream. Alumni connected internally, across different sectors, different industries, different community groups, different Indigenous groups and throughout diverse economies. There is power in these connections and real-life experiences that can't be underestimated- when this cohort goes to legislators and explain the solutions that work for our community during times of change, they will have the skills to know their purpose, to speak truth to power, and to be heard. .

It isn't about getting in front of governments and it's not just about working consistently across plans and priorities. The true core of success is about creating the harmony and alignment required to deliver on some of the really wicked challenges of our time. And I feel this MDA Basin Communities Leadership Program genuinely has the potential to deliver community-led, sustainable solutions for the communities of the Murray Darling Catchment.