Advisory group brings harmony to river

Watching: Sunnyside residents Margaret Goodman and Georgina Sutton are among the river users who have taken an interest in the process that led to the formation of the River Murray Boating and Recreational Advisory Group.
Watching: Sunnyside residents Margaret Goodman and Georgina Sutton are among the river users who have taken an interest in the process that led to the formation of the River Murray Boating and Recreational Advisory Group.

RIVER users have left divisive arguments in their wake with the formation of a new advisory organisation.

The River Murray Boating and Recreational Advisory Group (RMBRAG) will help boaties, holiday-makers, river communities and environmental groups work harmoniously to tackle issues such as noise and nuisance.

The group was formed from the remnants of the River Murray Eco Action Campaign, which was poorly received by local communities, and a residents' group that had stiffly resisted a series of proposed no-wash zones.

RMBRAG chairman David Banks said its approach would differ from previous river education efforts.

"During the Eco Action Campaign, the community expressed concern that it had not been consulted," he said.

"RMBRAG will have a completely transparent approach and open communication lines to alleviate these concerns.

"With the ever-increasing boating activity on the Murray, communication is the key."

The development of a code of conduct for river users is already one item on the agenda.

"We have spoken with a large number of River Murray interest groups and all have highlighted the need for an education plan that effectively connects with the range of demographics and generations who use the river recreationally," Mr Banks said.

It also plans to consult communities and make recommendations to government.

RMBRAG media officer Georgina Sutton said the group already included representatives of six relevant associations, several local communities and councils, shack lessees, marine shop owners, marina operators, politicians, several State Government departments and the Murray Darling Basin Authority and was on the lookout for more interested parties.

"It's anticipated there would be a core committee and sub-committees which would be formed around their notional representative groups," she said.

"The sub-groups would put representations to the core group, which would then take them to government authorities and so on."

Boating Industry Association general manager Glen Jones and Keep South Australia Beautiful's Dick Olesinski, joint convenors of the former Eco Action Campaign, both declined to be involved.

RMBRAG's name, logo, structure and vision were decided upon at a community meeting at Murray Bridge last month.

- Details: Anyone interested in the group can email admin@rmbrag.com, like the Facebook page River Murray Boating and Recreational Advisory Group - which already has more than 1000 followers - or follow the @RMBRAG Twitter account.

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