Still work­ing for com­mu­ni­ties

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS -

Pro­tect­ing re­gional com­mu­ni­ties con­tin­ued to be the fo­cus for the Speak Up Cam­paign dur­ing 2018.

It co­or­di­nated a vast range of ac­tiv­i­ties to help achieve this aim, its re­cent an­nual meet­ing was told.

Chair Shel­ley Scoullar re­ported on an ac­tion­packed year for the fledg­ling or­gan­i­sa­tion which has es­tab­lished it­self as a lead­ing com­mu­nity ad­vo­cacy group, es­pe­cially in the NSW Mur­ray re­gion, but also in north­ern Vic­to­ria and the Mur­rumbidgee.

‘‘Speak Up, as a voice for our com­mu­ni­ties, has pri­mar­ily been in­volved in ad­vo­cat­ing for bet­ter wa­ter pol­icy to en­sure we can con­tinue to be vi­brant and pros­per­ous, grow­ing food for our na­tion and the world. This can­not be done with­out wa­ter and we will not give up the fight un­til politi­cians ac­cept this in­dis­putable fact and give us the sup­port we need,’’ she said in her an­nual re­port.

Mrs Scoullar said there had been a fo­cus on build­ing net­works at po­lit­i­cal and bu­reau­cratic level.

‘‘The ig­no­rance within pol­i­tics of the dam­age be­ing caused by the Mur­rayDar­ling Basin Plan con­tin­ues to be a con­cern, how­ever I be­lieve our ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams are grad­u­ally bear­ing fruit.

‘‘I am proud that Speak Up is now the ‘go to’ group on wa­ter pol­icy, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and ad­vo­cacy for a vast range of or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­di­vid­u­als. This was high­lighted when Speak Up was in­vited to rep­re­sent the re­gion at the (De­cem­ber) MinCo ‘meet and greet’ ses­sion.’’

Mrs Scoullar said the con­tacts and net­works built to this point have laid a solid foun­da­tion to build on, and con­tinue pro­mot­ing the need for bet­ter wa­ter pol­icy to pro­tect our re­gion.

‘‘This will only be achieved with a strate­gic ap­proach that in­volves tar­geted mes­sag­ing cou­pled with sen­si­ble, wellinformed di­a­logue that in­cludes pre­sent­ing so­lu­tions,’’ she said.

She pro­vided de­tails of events which Speak Up had or­gan­ised through­out the year, in­clud­ing a wa­ter fo­rum in Moama at­tended by more than 300, a cri­sis rally in De­niliquin at­tended by more than 600, and the De­cem­ber march and rally in Mel­bourne.

‘‘Each of these events takes a huge amount of or­gan­is­ing and I would like to thank ev­ery­one who has made a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion to en­sur­ing each has been a suc­cess.

‘‘Speak Up, in a very short time, has de­vel­oped an en­vi­able rep­u­ta­tion for or­gan­is­ing events which gen­er­ate po­lit­i­cal and me­dia at­ten­tion, and high­light the is­sues af­fect­ing our re­gion. We will con­tinue to try and in­flu­ence pub­lic de­bate to se­cure the wa­ter on which our re­gion’s pros­per­ity re­lies.’’

At the AGM the se­nior ex­ec­u­tive was re-elected un­op­posed — chair Mrs Scoullar, vice chair Vicki Meyer and sec­re­tary/trea­surer Linda Fawns.

Mrs Scoullar en­cour­aged peo­ple in­ter­ested in the re­gion’s fu­ture to join the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

‘‘Thanks to ev­ery­one for their mem­ber­ship con­tri­bu­tions — we value this sup­port and have done every­thing pos­si­ble to en­sure your con­tri­bu­tion is put to pos­i­tive use.’’

Shel­ley Scoullar.

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