Murray Darling Basin Authority

Stakeholder communication and engagement

Katherine Teh-White

Managing Director

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The brief:

Futureye was commissioned by the Murray Darling Basin Authority to provide strategic advice and implementation support on stakeholder communication and engagement subsequent to the release of the Authority’s ‘Guide to the Basin Plan’. Management of the Murray Darling Basin has proved to be problematic due to the wide range of stakeholders and interests in the region. Two factions emerged criticising the plan: the first claiming that water allocation reduction is too high and will mean the “death” of communities reliant on the Murray, with the other claiming that the reduction is not extensive enough to restore the environmental health of the Murray. Despite the Authority’s community consultation process, community outrage quickly escalated around the proposed plan.

The result:

The Murray Darling Basin Authority chose not to implement many of Futureye’s recommendations regarding the Authority’s engagement with stakeholders. The CEO of the MDBA and several board members failed to appreciate the need for the Authority to cease seeing themselves as immune from the outrage of stakeholders. As a result of the poor communication practices of the Authority, the CEO and several board members resigned following heavy criticism.

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