Lake Eyre Basin Rivers 88 Communication wide and effective Three key principles continue to drive effective communication across the Lake Eyre Basin: maintenance of good stakeholder relationships active fostering of shared responsibility and acknowledgement that people and place are inseparable. The Lake Eyre Basin, like all large river basins in the world, has a diverse mix of communities with wide ranging values and aspirations. Effective communication needs to operate over more than 1500 km, where population density is only one person/20 km2. This remains a challenge. The community and science advisory committees have met more than 30 times since the commencement of the Lake Eyre Basin Intergovernmental Agreement to discuss local and Basin-wide issues and provide recommendations to communities and governments. These regular, funded gatherings, open to interested observers, are touchstones of community ‘reality check’ and scientific rigour, providing forums for new ideas, problem solving and raising key issues requiring collaborative community and government attention. Meetings have typically been held in different locations around the Basin, allowing members to learn about and share in the challenges of managing such a large river system. However, uniting the community for the protection of one of the world’s great river systems remains a complex and costly endeavour. Over the decades, news of potential threats has been rapidly communicated throughout the community, and governments have been held to account for policies and legislation which did not reflect the broader community vision of river protection. There is particular vigilance about the potential impacts of water resource development on the rivers’ precious resource, water. Any extraction has implications for downstream ecosystems and communities. Advisory groups have critically reviewed the water planning and protection measures of different states, consistently highlighting the values and importance of the rivers of the Lake Eyre Basin, and criticising the Liberal National Queensland Government (2012– 15) for weakening river protections and promoting irrigation (see Chapters 17, 20 and 21 Table 7.1). The original scientific workshop in 1996 at Windorah and other key conferences have maintained strong pressure on governments, including the Windorah floodplain graziers conference in 2008 and the Lake Eyre Basin Under the Spotlight conference in Longreach in 2013 (Table 7.1). Diverse and effective communication, built on more than three decades of collaboration and trust, was essential for all processes. Communities of the Lake Eyre Basin have used these cohesive communication networks to actively influence government decisions and policies. In 2000, the magnificent ‘Heart of Australia’ Lake Eyre Basin poster, with a map of the Basin and its people and environments, became the centrepiece of a carefully planned and well-executed awareness-raising program ( It created a powerful sense of place for people, conveying compelling messages about the Basin’s unique landscape features, catchment connectivity, cultural assets, environmental values and land uses. Its publication signalled the start of broad, sustained, formal communication within and beyond the Basin, well supported by the Intergovernmental Agreement. The poster adorns nearly every roadhouse, pub or tourist information centre in the Basin, generating continual interest and conversation about the Basin and its people. The
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