Rally and march to protest Murray Darling plan

Farmers and community members will rally, then march across the Murray River, this week


There's a further Murray-Darling Basin Plan protest taking place this week.

FIX THE PLAN: One of the organisers of Thursday's Tocumwal protest rally, Darcy Hare, says all farmers and the community want is for the federal government to fix the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

FIX THE PLAN: One of the organisers of Thursday's Tocumwal protest rally, Darcy Hare, says all farmers and the community want is for the federal government to fix the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Farmers and community members plan to march across the Murray River, at Tocumwal, NSW after holding a protest rally in the town, this Thursday.

Rally organisers say they want the federal government to acknowledge the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is a failure.

"We have had many requests to follow the protest rally with a march, and we have agreed that it is a way to get attention to our concerns," one organiser said.

"Our preference would be to sit down with the federal Water Minister David Littleproud and discuss the pain being caused by the Basin Plan.

"But he won't talk to us, so we have to protest and march."

Organisers said it was extremely disappointing to learn Mr Littleproud was visiting the region but was ignoring some of the peak farming groups.

It was also disappointing that the Minister was not staying in the region to attend the rally, where he would have an opportunity to discover the frustration being felt by local communities.

"We do not oppose having a Basin Plan; in fact, it has strong support from our organisations," the spokesman said.

"But we do not want a plan that unnecessarily sacrifices intergenerational farmers.

"We want the plan that the federal government promised, which is one that protects the environment, our livelihoods and the communities, which rely on agricultural prosperity."

The march will be held after the ''Fix The Basin Plan Communities Crisis Rally'', which starts at 11am on Thursday.

"We want the government to fix the Basin Plan; it's a pure and simple message," said rally co-organiser Darcy Hare.

Mr Hare said returning water security to southern New South Wales and northern Victoria was essential.

"We cannot keep pouring water down the river to see it wasted through evaporation in lakes that used to be estuarine, but are now being categorised as freshwater, because that falsehood suits a political narrative," Mr Hare said.

"For the sake of our communities, we need to sort this mess out."

A range of speakers has been organised for the rally, which will have libertarian and film-maker Topher Field as its Master of Ceremonies.

The speakers will address a range of issues highlighting the flaws in the Basin Plan and the refusal of the federal government to adopt the latest science and fix the 'plan's shortcomings.

The rally will also be addressed by NSW Murray Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MP Helen Dalton, and Shepparton Independent MP Suzanna Sheed.

Mr Hare said organisers appreciated the anger and frustration throughout large parts of the southern Basin, and were determined to keep fighting until their voices were heard.

He said it was disappointing that Farrer Liberal MP Sussan Ley, the Environment Minister, had advised she had a prior engagement and would be unable to attend.

Mr Hare said the rally would highlight what protesters said was the indisputable fact the Basin Plan was flawed on all levels - environmental, economic and social.

"The federal government has issues with the open water market which need to be addressed, it needs to acknowledge the estuarine tradition of the Lower Lakes.

"It needs to develop water management around the Basin Plan that effectively uses our most precious resource," Mr Hare said.

"Instead, the government, led by Mr Littleproud, refuses to accept that we have a crisis, let alone adopt a position to try and fix it.

"We want people to attend the rally to show the frustration we are feeling towards this unnecessary attitude which we want to see changed."

Mr Littleproud said he understood farmers were hurting because of the drought.

"Unless it rains, unless it falls from the sky, hits the ground and runs into those rivers, you do not get water running down these rivers," Mr Littleproud said.

"The Murray-Darling Basin Plan does not look at the environmental water holder above farmers.

"They are looked at in the same light, they have the same rules, they will get up in the morning and they have the same rules and they have to manage the water the same way as farmers do and they get to store that water in dams. "

Mr Littleproud said there were "minority elements" within the Basin community that are politicising this for their own personal gain.

"I am not pausing this plan.

"We will get a worse plan if we do that. But the reality is unless it rains, unless the water flows, the drought will continue and the Basin Plan will not put one extra megalitre of water back into anyone's dam if you want to blow it up."

He said it was important not to confuse the drought with the Basin Plan.

"Stopping the Plan won't deliver more water during a drought - anywhere," he said."


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