Farmers and local government representatives were joined by mill workers, teachers and small business owners across the Southern Murray Darling Basin today to rally against the latest proposals to deliver the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
Shadow Water Minister, Senator Perin Davey joined the rally in her hometown of Deniliquin in the Murray Irrigation Districts while two other rallies were held in Griffith and Leeton in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.
“These rallies have been driven by the communities, coordinated by Local Government and local stakeholders because they are frustrated and they want to be heard,” Senator Davey said.
“We keep getting told we need to take more water off farmers and producers to save the river, but what people don’t get told is that already 70% of the water that flows into the river system, stays in the river system.
“Less than 30% of all inflows is taken out for farmers, for drinking water, for towns and industries. The rest stays in the system for base flows, connectivity, and watering wetlands.
“So, the question has to be asked; what more will taking will be achieved by taking more water off farmers or is there a way we can do it differently.”
Farmer Liz Stott addressed the Leeton Rally calling on senators and MPs to think about real outcomes for the environment.
“Put your name against something that will actually make a difference, not decimate our communities,” Ms Stott said.
In Griffith the chant of “no buybacks” rang out loud and clear from the crowd of nearly 2,000 gathered.
“What I’ve heard loud and clear from these rallies is that it is time to look at doing things differently,” Senator Davey said.
Senator Davey is calling for the Government to amend the legislation before the Senate to ensure water recovery does not have negative social and economic impacts.
“That was written into the original Basin Plan and must remain if this legislation is going to have any chance of support from the Liberals and Nationals,” she said.