Tocumwal basin plan crisis rally

By Sophie Baldwin

A community crisis rally to be held on the Tocumwal foreshore on Thursday is fast gaining community support with people from across northern Victoria and the southern Riverina expected to descend on the town to voice their increasing concerns over the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

The rally, hosted by actor and film-maker Topher Field, will kick off at 11am and will include speakers addressing a range of issues highlighting the flaws and the refusal of the Federal Government to adopt the latest science and fix the plan’s shortcomings.

Rally co-organiser Darcy Hare said communities were frustrated, fatigued and fed up with the denial and were crying out for political leadership.

“We want the government to fix the basin plan — it’s a pure and simple message. The government, led by Water Minister David Littleproud, refuses to accept that we have a crisis, let alone adopt a position to try and fix it," Mr Hare said.

The rally will also be addressed by NSW Member for Murray Helen Dalton, and Victoria’s Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed.

Mr Littleproud and Environment Minister and Member for Farrer Sussan Ley are unable to attend the rally.

“During her election campaign Ms Ley told us water was her number one priority, however since the election our key farming groups cannot even get to talk to her about our concerns," Mr Hare said.

Anita Seiter, Seiter's Timber and Hardware, Numurkah

I am not normally a person to stand up and make noise but we are approaching the point where we have nothing to lose.

If things keep going the way they are, we run the risk of losing everything anyway.

We have noticed a marked decrease in traffic through our front door and we have never seen things so quiet and the community so despondent.

I am concerned about the blatant disregard the government have for the environmental damage they are causing unseasonably flooding the bush and sending large volumes of water down the river.

This rally is an acknowledgement the government has got a system in place that is not working and the rules set up around governing water are anti-agriculture.

I am really starting to wonder how we are going to feed a growing population in the future.

Guest speaker and Finley dairy farmer Lachlan Marshall

I am sick and tired of seeing the destruction of our community. Good people are hurting while the government continues to spin lies.

Federally they are well aware of what is happening and there is a lot of commentary related to the mismanagement of the plan and yet they refuse to listen.

I hope the community grab this opportunity to stand up for themselves, because no-one else is going to stand up for us.

Cohuna dairy farmer Jodie Hay

Despite years of flagging the failings of the plan, the powers to be are still not listening.

We don't have the time frame to wait for them to fix it but there are working solutions that can be delivered to get water to irrigators now. Attaching loss and dilution figures along with conveyance losses to the environmental water holder would allow more water to be delivered to farmers.