Tak­ing a mes­sage to MinCo

Southern Riverina news - - RURAL OUTLOOK -

Ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties are be­ing asked to join forces and de­liver a strong mes­sage of dis­en­chant­ment at a rally in Mel­bourne.

It is be­ing or­gan­ised by the com­mu­nity based Speak Up Cam­paign to co­in­cide with a meet­ing of fed­eral and state Wa­ter Min­is­ters, known as MinCo, to dis­cuss the next phase of the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Plan.

MinCo will meet in Mel­bourne in De­cem­ber, though a date has not yet been an­nounced.

Speak Up chair Shel­ley Scoullar said ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties need to unite and leave Min­is­ters in no doubt that they are fed up with be­ing the col­lat­eral dam­age for a poorly im­ple­mented plan which is based more on win­ning mar­ginal seats than pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

She said Speak Up is look­ing for com­mu­nity ‘cham­pi­ons’ who are pre­pared to help pro­mote and or­gan­ise rally par­tic­i­pants from their par­tic­u­lar area.

‘‘We want peo­ple from through­out the New South Wales and Vic­to­rian Mur­ray re­gions, the Goul­burn Val­ley, the Mur­rumbidgee and our city cousins to join us in Mel­bourne for this rally.

‘‘We need to de­liver a loud and clear mes­sage that we have had enough of this po­lit­i­cally driven, badly im­ple­mented plan. It is time gov­ern­ments took de­ci­sive ac­tion to pro­tect our com­mu­ni­ties, not de­stroy them,” Mrs Scoullar said.

The rally comes at an im­por­tant time in the Basin Plan process, as the MinCo meet­ing will dis­cuss the so­cial and eco­nomic neu­tral­ity test around re­cov­er­ing an ad­di­tional 450 gi­gal­itres of wa­ter.

‘‘When the Basin Plan was leg­is­lated we were told the 450 would only pro­ceed if there were no ad­verse so­cial and eco­nomic im­pacts.

‘‘Ev­ery clear think­ing per­son can see this is an ab­so­lute im­pos­si­bil­ity. It sim­ply can­not be done.

‘‘Yet as we have seen over the past six years of im­ple­men­ta­tion, prom­ises and com­mit­ments to our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties are base­less.

‘‘Politi­cians have ig­nored the dam­age and the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Author­ity con­tin­u­ally re­fuses to prop­erly ac­knowl­edge the plan’s neg­a­tive ef­fects.

‘‘Our rally needs to let th­ese peo­ple know that our com­mu­ni­ties do mat­ter and we will fight to save them.’’

Mrs Scoullar said it was also im­por­tant to make our city cousins more aware of the dam­age be­ing caused by the Basin Plan and the en­vi­ron­men­tal cha­rade that is be­ing played out.

‘‘The way in which city peo­ple have sup­ported the drought ef­fort is an in­di­ca­tion of the strong sup­port they have for food and fi­bre pro­duc­ers.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately they have been illinformed about the Basin Plan by pow­er­ful en­vi­ron­men­tal lobby groups who know how to in­flu­ence politi­cians and the me­dia.

‘‘Un­less we change di­rec­tion the plan will go down in his­tory as the big­gest ever waste of tax­pay­ers’ money. Pink batts and school halls will pale into in­signif­i­cance com­pared to the Basin Plan.

‘‘And yet if bu­reau­crats and politi­cians were pre­pared to ad­mit that mis­takes have been made and work col­lab­o­ra­tively and gen­uinely with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties on ef­fec­tive so­lu­tions, we could build a plan that works for ev­ery­one.

‘‘That is our aim and we want ev­ery­one to join us in Mel­bourne to de­liver it,’’ Mrs Scoullar said.

Any­one who is pre­pared to be a ‘cham­pion’ for their com­mu­nity should con­tact Mrs Scoullar on 0414 960 785 or email speakup4wa­ter@gmail.com.

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