News

Hector rallies to protect future

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Hector Bain was a third generation Blighty dairy farmer until a stroke forced him out of the industry.

He has watched his community wither away and is worried about the future.

He was heading to Canberra yesterday to prove a point.

“Blighty is turning back into what it was like before irrigation and it is shocking,” Hector said.

He said everything suffers when irrigation is taken away from community including local business, school and the football club.

“We need recognition for the damage the plan is doing, it is a complete farce and must be stopped,” he said.

He was one of thousands, alongside trucks, tractors, utes, cars and busloads of people demanding Government attention at the Convoy to Canberra rally, being held yesterday and today.

They are from across the Murray-Darling Basin and want action to either fix the failing Murray-Darling Basin Plan or Can The Plan.

Rally co-organiser Shelley Scoullar, chair of the community-based Speak Up Campaign, said the Basin Plan had “failed on every level”.

However, she said too many politicians - especially those in Government - refuse to acknowledge the destruction from the Basin Plan in its current format.

Rally organisers have scheduled meetings with federal Water Minister David Littleproud, Environment Minister Sussan Ley and NSW Nationals Senator Perin Davey to discuss their concerns and present their solutions.

There will also be a delegation to the National Farmers Federation to highlight the damage being caused to Australia’s agricultural sector by the Basin Plan, and call on the NFF to take a stronger stance to protect the future of farming in basin communities.

This has already had in impact, with the NFF on Sunday calling for action to fix the plan, with similar calls now coming from NSW Farmers.

Its president James Jackson said yesterday: “We know that the impacts of this drought are being made worse by a Murray Darling Basin Plan that is just not working for agriculture, basin communities or the environment.’’

They rally was gaining widespread media attention with a host of interviews by rally organisers leading to coverage of the issue in metropolitan newspapers, and on numerous radio and television stations.

Barooga’s Carly Marriott, one of the organisers, was interviewed by Sydney’s leading ‘shock jock’ Alan Jones who was backing the convoy and urged participants “not to take no for an answer”.

“Good luck and go for it. Go for the jugular and groin Carly!” the outspoken announcer exclaimed.

Rally organisers have been unsuccessful so far in attempts to get a meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The rally convoy gathered in Yass yesterday morning where there was a traffic jam of trucks, before proceeding to Canberra.