Now may­ors are speak­ing up

The Riverine Herald - - NEWS - By Tyla Har­ring­ton

MAY­ORS in south­ern NSW have recog­nised the value of a rally which took the re­gion’s con­cerns over 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 (known as MinCo) and saw hun­dreds of peo­ple march­ing and chant­ing along Collins St, Mel­bourne, be­fore gath­er­ing out­side the Park Hy­att where the 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 Shire, 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 of frus­tra­tion and a de­ter­mi­na­tion to get a fair go,’’ Cr Han­nan said.

‘‘We have been let down by the 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 added that 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 4am, to get to South­ern Cross in time to march.’’

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

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.

He ac­knowl­edged that min­is­ters had taken a step in the right di­rec­tion with the neu­tral­ity test at MinCo, but of­fered a word of cau­tion.

HAV­ING A SAY: Ber­ri­gan Shire mayor Matt Han­nan with rally par­tic­i­pants in Collins St, Mel­bourne, sup­ported by Mur­ray River Coun­cil.

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