Are they lis­ten­ing?

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS -

There has been a pos­i­tive re­ac­tion to Fin­ley’s news cov­er­age by na­tional and re­gional me­dia in the past fort­night.

The ABC Rive­rina and Bor­der Mail re­cently wrote sto­ries high­light­ing the se­ri­ous is­sues faced by the town due to the mis­man­age­ment of the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Plan.

The sto­ries covered a wide range of top­ics in­clud­ing job losses, busi­nesses clos­ing, farm­ers strug­gling, de­clin­ing school pop­u­la­tion and less lo­cals sign­ing up to play with sport­ing teams.

Lo­cal butcher Ashley Haynes fea­tured in the ABC story and said he was im­pressed with the cov­er­age the town re­ceived, how­ever he doesn’t be­lieve the mes­sage will reach higher places.

‘‘I’m happy with the story but are the politi­cians lis­ten­ing?

‘‘There are good sto­ries around the area but that doesn’t de­tract from the fact we’re so re­liant on wa­ter.

‘‘I’m still con­cerned about the im­pact on dairy farms from the Mur­ray Dar­ling Basin Plan and the frus­tra­tion their voice isn’t been heard by Can­berra or Syd­ney.

‘‘Our farm­ers want to pro­duce the clean­est prod­uct from the best farm­ing prac­tices and we will al­ways sup­port them.

‘‘It’s lu­di­crous to think the Greens want to source prod­ucts from other coun­tries,’’ Mr Haynes said.

Fin­ley Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Gary Carr de­scribed the re­cent cov­er­age as a ‘‘glass half full, glass half empty sce­nario’’.

He said the sto­ries ac­cu­rately de­scribed the so­cio-eco­nomic im­pact in the town, how­ever cer­tain pos­i­tives as­pects could have been in­cluded.

‘‘I be­lieve the sto­ries are harsh but I can un­der­stand why that’s the case.

‘‘Yes, the lack of wa­ter is crip­pling the area and some­thing needs to be done, es­pe­cially around the fact there’s no (wa­ter) al­lo­ca­tion in the area.

‘‘We’ve had the pop­u­la­tion and school num­bers drop but there are still busi­nesses in town look­ing for em­ploy­ment and oth­ers ex­pand­ing.

‘‘It posted Fin­ley in a bad light, even though I don’t think we’re the only town suf­fer­ing be­cause of the Basin Plan; Fin­ley is one part of the prob­lem.

‘‘I’m the first to ad­mit we’ve been hard done by miss­ing out on grants and now fund­ing money isn’t com­ing, so you would say Fin­ley has suf­fered.

‘‘I’m happy the story went out to a wider au­di­ence but if some­one was look­ing to move to Fin­ley it didn’t put us in a good light.’’

Ber­ri­gan Shire Mayor Matt Hannan — a Fin­ley lo­cal — was also fea­tured in the ABC story.

He said it was vi­tal to get the news out to the na­tion around the im­pact of the Mur­ray Dar­ling Basin Plan.

‘‘It prob­a­bly doesn’t put Fin­ley in the best light but it’s an is­sue peo­ple need to un­der­stand; and un­der­stand what is hap­pen in dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties across the Basin.

‘‘It was ex­po­sure about the Basin Plan, and there were great bits about Lach­lan Mar­shall and the Urquhart fam­ily.

‘‘I still don’t think the Basin Au­thor­ity be­lieve the plan has a ma­jor im­pact on com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘They want to draw con­clu­sions on with­drawal of gov­ern­men­tal ser­vices and the mil­len­nium drought, but put a basin plan on top and I think it’s a hel­luva lot to do with the de­cline in Fin­ley.

‘‘I can’t dic­tate where the story goes but if a jour­nal­ist calls me to speak about Fin­ley I will be as pos­i­tive as I can while also do­ing my job as mayor across four towns,’’ Cr Hannan said.

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