The Federal Government has announced a new initiative that will see specialised local staff to work with the community to ‘restore the Murray-Darling Basin to health’.

Federal Water Minister, Tony Burke, said that six Commonwealth Environmental Water local engagement officers will be based in regional communities across the Basin to work with local people to assist in determining how best to use the environmental water outlined in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Mr Burke said that the use of the officers builds on the Government’s commitment to ‘localism’ which he says is ‘hard wired’ into many parts of the plan.

"The way we use environmental water is at the heart of basin reform, it's how we restore the system to health,'' Mr Burke said.

"The issue of increasing local knowledge in management of environmental water has been raised in almost all community meetings I've been to as well as by the Windsor committee.

"These local engagement officers will play an important role in helping us to continue to tap into the knowledge and experience of local people within the catchments.”

The officers will work with existing state bodies and community networks, such as catchment management authorities and advisory groups.

The officers will be employees of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office but the Australian Government will be inviting Catchment Management Authorities and other relevant organisations to assist in the hosting of the local engagement officers.