Basin committee has first indigenous chair

By Rodney Woods

Phil Duncan will become the first indigenous person to lead the Basin Community Committee after the Murray-Darling Basin Authority board appointed him for a three-year term.

The independent body is made up of basin community members representing an extensive network of stakeholders, and advises government on community matters.

The new chairman said he was looking forward to working with other committee members to reinvigorate rural communities.

He also backed the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

“My entire family are the beneficiaries of a strong and vibrant Australian rural industry,” Mr Duncan said.

“I understand the requirements needed for viable rural industries here in Australia.

“I support the Murray-Darling Basin Plan — there is no plan B.

“The basin plan provides the platform for collaboration, working partnerships and a staged approach to the recovery of the entire river system.

“I want to look at how we can work together to repair country and support the reinvigoration of rural industries in Australia.

“I want to see the long-term resilience of all communities in the basin that are affected by the crippling realities of drought.

“For me to be the best chair of the Basin Community Committee I can be, I need to be able to take sound strategic advice from my fellow committee members and be approachable to all stakeholders across the basin.”

Federal Water Minister David Littleproud congratulated the MDBA's board for making the appointment.

“This shows the value First Australians bring to managing our rivers,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Phil Duncan is a highly respected Gomeroi man with more than 35 years’ experience consulting the community and providing advice to government.

“Phil has held a number of senior roles, including setting up the Strategic Policy and Planning Unit at the NSW Aboriginal Land Council and managing the NSW indigenous fishing strategy.”

More information about the committee can be found at: www.mdba.gov.au/bcc