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Groups meet to advise on future projects

In a historic first, members of Murray Local Land Services’ two community advisory groups came together recently to help map the direction of future projects to ensure they meet community expectations and needs.

The meeting, which involved Murray Local Land Services staff and members of its Local Community Advisory Group and Aboriginal Community Advisory Group, has been described as “very positive”.

Murray Local Land Services General Manager, Gary Rodda, said the focus of the meeting was to provide input to the agency’s plans for projects under the coming round of National Landcare Program funding.

“Members from both groups were very supportive of our funding bid and the line-up of projects we’re putting forward,” he said.

“We had a high degree of engagement and contribution from all attendees.

“It’s important that we have these groups on board with the proposals, so to have such a positive response was very heartening.”

The proposed projects include plans to enhance Ramsar wetlands in the Central Murray region, protect and grow populations of plains wanderer birds, and restore and enhance native vegetation to protect threatened ecological communities.

Work will also aim to address soil condition through improved nodulation and reduced soil acidity, and support agricultural systems to adapt to changes in climate and markets.

ACAG member Jeanette Crew labelled the meeting “positive, constructive and inclusive”, and said she hoped to do it again.

“It was interesting hearing from a different or another point of view, and to hear what the two groups have in common,” she said.

“It was also a bit challenging to think of different ways of doing business to meet long-term, and ongoing, outcomes that meet the needs of all parties.”

Chair of the LCAG, Tony Piggin, described the meeting as significant, with discussions that were “open, cordial and constructive”.

“From the LCAG’s point of view it was valuable and interesting getting the perspective of the Indigenous community, and it’s something that we need to keep front and centre,” he said.

“This is a step in a much longer journey, but it is a positive step.

“The task facing Murray Local Land Services in regard to the National Landcare Program, and meaningfully engaging the Indigenous component, is challenging, but if the (Australian) Government wants positive achievements in terms of closing the gap, then the work Local Land Services does with targeted investment is a fantastic example.”

The meeting also touched on the work being done on a draft Regional Pest Animal Management Plan, which is being prepared for a public exhibition phase in March.

Media contact: Matt Lane, Murray Local Land Services, 02 6051 2252