News

Convoy to Can the Plan

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

The frustration being felt by communities across the Murray-Darling Basin is at boiling point.

Try as they might, desperate farmers, community leaders and business operators cannot get the Federal Government to accept the damage being caused by a failing Basin Plan.

So they plan to converge on Canberra in another desperate effort to have their voices heard.

‘Can the Plan’ will be the catchcry during the Convoy to Canberra on Monday, December 2 and Tuesday, December 3.

It started as a protest from communities in the southern part of the Basin, but family farmers in the Northern Basin have asked if they can join, and their support has been gratefully accepted by organisers.

‘‘Virtually everyone who makes the effort to learn about the Basin Plan and its adverse impacts has developed an understanding of the unnecessary pain and suffering to hard-working Australians,’’ said rally co-organiser Carly Marriott.

‘‘Yet federal Water Minister David Littleproud flatly refuses to protect our people. It appears he was told the day he was appointed Water Minister that the plan must barge ahead, regardless of the consequences, and he simply will not sway from that position.

‘‘We find it quite unbelievable that a National Party representative would take such a stand, but that’s what we have to deal with.

‘‘We are hoping that by converging on Canberra the Prime Minister and other colleagues will see that we have had enough of being used as pawns in a political game, and we are not going to sit back meekly and allow it to continue.’’

During the peaceful protest in Canberra, organisers will be calling for a meeting with Mr Morrison to try and explain to him why the Basin Plan needs to be either ‘‘ripped up’’, as recently suggested by

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro, or at the very least it must be paused and fixed.

‘‘Implementing the Basin Plan is wrecking Australia’s food bowl. Water continues to drain into the Southern Ocean, while families, farms and communities are closing down.

‘‘Australia needs a sustainable and healthy river system; our economy, food security and wellbeing depend on it, now and in the future. That is why we need immediate action and involvement of the Prime Minister.’’

Mrs Marriott said people from across the Basin would be involved in the convoy. At this stage they are waiting for confirmation if anyone from South Australia would attend, which is not surprising because that is where so much water is being wasted for political purposes.

‘‘We would welcome any South Australians who want to join our protest, especially those who want effective and fair water policy, or those interested in saving the Lower Lakes and the Coorong, because the Basin Plan won’t do that,’’ Mrs Marriott said.

She added the Murray-Darling Basin is important to the national economy, supporting tens of thousands of businesses and more than 2.6 million people.

‘‘We have made an incredible mess of the Basin Plan, which is such a shame and so unnecessary. If Mr Littleproud could show the courage to admit this, we wouldn’t need to be travelling to Canberra. But we’ll be there in droves and hopefully Prime Minister Morrison will display the leadership we are seeking.’’

Anyone seeking more information about the convoy can phone Jan Beer on 0407 144 777 or email.

The convoy will gather at the Yass Caltex Service Station at 11am on Monday, December 2, then travel to Canberra where a Water Embassy will be established in Federation Mall. Here a vigil will be

held with those in attendance being addressed by a number of speakers. The vigil will continue on Tuesday and arrangements are being made for those who want to roll out a swag, or participants are advised to book accommodation early.