Two more champions

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Andrew Bock and Jan Beer care for the future of their communities.

They have grave concerns about what poor water management is doing to the regions they love, and are prepared to do something about it.

Andrew (pictured) and Jan have agreed to be ‘regional champions’ and promote a rally being held in Melbourne that wants to make politicians aware of the damage to communities due to mistakes with water policy and management.

The rally is being organised by the Speak Up Campaign and coincides with a meeting of Commonwealth and State Water Ministers being held in the Victorian capital next Friday, December 14.

Mr Bock said he wants the voice of food and fibre producers, as well as other water users, to be heard.

In recent times he has attended 10 meetings in eight towns across all four Basin states and the Australian Capital Territory, to hear the stories of those on the ground.

He’s been able to share this information with politicians and bureaucrats to help them understand the impact of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan on hard working Australians.

Whether it’s a Productivity Commission hearing or a Commonwealth Department of Water consultation session, he is constantly listening to people frustrated with a Basin Plan that is not working, yet they are not seeing any efforts to adopt change.

‘‘The Commonwealth and the South Australian Governments are not playing fair with the welfare of our communities. To this point they are allowing Northern Victoria and Southern New South Wales to be sacrificed for political gain,’’ he said.

‘‘But we must not stop doing everything possible to get our messages across.’’

Mrs Beer has been a long-time advocate for changes to the Basin Plan and is encouraging others to join her at the rally.

She wants to ensure the Commonwealth is left in no doubt about the potential impacts of recovering another 450 gigalitres under the Basin Plan, and that it will seriously affect not only food and fibre producers, but also the communities that rely on them.

Mrs Beer has painstakingly researched the Basin Plan in its development and implementation phases, including modelling – which she knows to be false - undertaken by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

She doesn’t need a computer to tell her what will happen if the MDBA tries to deliver the huge volumes of water to South Australia that are proposed.

“It is impossible to deliver the water without causing major flooding events of longer duration than has been previously experienced. There will be massive damage to private and public land,” Mrs Beer said.

“The delivery would require precise timing as they attempt to coincide tributary flows with flows in at least three of the four major river systems. This will not only cause damage, but also cost taxpayers millions, if not billions, of dollars.

“It is imperative that a cost:benefit analysis of the 450 gigalitres is undertaken, including the relaxation of constraints, before the recovery of any additional water,” Mrs Beer said.

If you would like to join them at the rally, contact [email protected] or call Carly on 0407 305 900