"The biggest thing is around uncertainty."
That's the key takeaway Independent Assessment of Social and Economic Conditions in the Basin panel member Bruce Simpson got from two sessions which allowed community members to provide feedback and submissions about to the social and economic conditions of the Murray-Darling Basin.
An invite-only session was held in Griffith on Monday before a open drop-in session was held at the Coleambally Community Club, with more than 30 people attending the session.
Mr Simpson said uncertainty was a major cause for concern for the community.
"Uncertainty in the changing environmental policy [and] water policy, the lack of certainty around the future for the next generation, the lack of certainty around access to water on a reliable basis," Mr Simpson said.
"All of those things are undermining people's confidence."
Griffith mayor John Dal Broi said the key things indicated to the panel at the invite-only session was the impact of the Murray-Darling Basin plan.
"Communities are starting to really feel the effects of no water allocations," Councillor Dal Broi said.
"We indicated to them what the basin plan has done, it has destroyed rice growing in this area."
Cr Dal Broi said the Griffith session was attended by select community stakeholders and representatives from irrigation groups.
Wider impacts were discussed during the Coleambally session, with declines in schooling enrolments, worries about producing financially productive amounts of summer crops and the knock-on effect to local businesses all tabled during the session in Coleambally.
Coleambally Business Chamber chairwoman Lynne Stuckings said businesses in the area have been hit hard by a lack of water and while the panel is willing to listen to communities, a lot of it has already been said before with little change made.
"Businesses don't qualify for any drought funding or anything like that," Ms Stuckings said.
"We're doing it tough, none of us are drawing a wage at the moment... we're just a service to the town a lot of us at the moment.
"We feel it's a bit repetitive, we've been saying this type of thing for maybe 20 years now but we've still got to push the point."
Panel member David McKenzie said while some of the questions raised by the panel may have been put forward in the past, it is important that communities make their voices heard.
"I know what will happen if we stop having these conversations and stop turning up to opportunities like this," Mr McKenzie said.
"The decision makers will think that everything is flying along perfectly and there's nothing that they need to intervene in.
"So as exhausting as it is and sometimes as futile as it seems, I think you've got to keep turning up and making the case."
The visit to Coleambally is one of 12 open sessions being undertaken by the panel, with other sessions due to occur in Hay, Shepparton, Mildura and Bourke.
The panel will hand down a preliminary report in December before releasing the final report in April 2020.
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