May­ors rally to wa­ter cause

Shepparton News - Country News - - WATER -

South­ern NSW may­ors have recog­nised the value of a rally which took the re­gion’s con­cerns about wa­ter is­sues to Mel­bourne.

They have con­grat­u­lated the Speak Up cam­paign for or­gan­is­ing the De­cem­ber 14 rally, as well as ev­ery­one who par­tic­i­pated.

It was held in con­junc­tion with a meet­ing of state and fed­eral wa­ter min­is­ters and saw hun­dreds of peo­ple marching and chant­ing along Collins St, be­fore gath­er­ing out­side the Park Hy­att where the Min­is­te­rial Coun­cil meet­ing was held.

Ber­ri­gan Shire Mayor Matt Han­nan, who par­tic­i­pated in the march and rally, con­grat­u­lated the Speak Up cam­paign for the huge amount of work which was in­volved in or­gan­is­ing the event.

He spoke on be­half of four coun­cils in south­ern NSW — Ber­ri­gan, Ed­ward River, Mur­ray River and Mur­rumbidgee — who are all mem­bers of the Mur­ray Re­gional Strat­egy Group cam­paign­ing for wa­ter pol­icy that pro­tects re­gional com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘When I par­tic­i­pated in the rally I could sense the pride of our com­mu­ni­ties, as well as a high level frus­tra­tion and a de­ter­mi­na­tion to get a fair go,’’ Cr Han­nan said.

‘‘We have been let down by the (Mur­ray-Dar­ling) Basin Plan, gov­ern­ments and the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Au­thor­ity which is re­spon­si­ble for its im­ple­men­ta­tion.

‘‘We wanted our mes­sage and our voices heard; there’s no doubt that was achieved.’’

Cr Han­nan said bring­ing to­gether and co-or­di­nat­ing com­mu­ni­ties from across the NSW Mur­ray, Mur­rumbidgee, north­ern Vic­to­ria and Goul­burn Val­ley was not an easy task.

‘‘My con­grat­u­la­tions to the or­gan­is­ers for their out­stand­ing work, as well as ev­ery­one who was up early in the morn­ing, some be­fore 4 am, to get to South­ern Cross in time to march.’’

Cr Han­nan said Aus­tralia’s food bowl and the com­mu­ni­ties that rely on farm pro­duc­tion were un­der at­tack from a basin plan that was fail­ing the na­tion.

He said Mel­bourne res­i­dents were made aware that these are the peo­ple who put food on the city ta­bles and clothes on the backs of its peo­ple, and there must be a pol­icy shift to al­low this to con­tinue.

‘‘On be­half of the four may­ors in south­ern NSW I call on gov­ern­ments to adopt a prac­ti­cal, com­mon­sense ap­proach to the basin plan in 2019.

‘‘Work with our com­mu­ni­ties, not against us, to pro­tect both our en­vi­ron­ment and our pros­per­ity.’’

Wa­ter war­rior . . . Speak Up or­gan­iser Shel­ley Scoullar is in­ter­viewed dur­ing last month’s wa­ter rally in Mel­bourne.

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