Speak Up at rally
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 on December 14.
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.
‘‘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,’’ Mrs Scoullar said.
‘‘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.’’
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,’’ Mrs Scoullar said.
‘‘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.
‘‘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.’’
Please register your interest via email speakup4wa[email protected] or call Carly Brooks on 0407 305 900 and she will put you in touch with your regional coordinator.
An exact location for the MinCo meeting has not been advised so participants should keep updated via email, Facebook and Twitter @speakup4water.