Country News

Water protest rally

By Geoff Adams

Irrigators from northern Victoria and the southern Riverina will rally in Melbourne tomorrow (Friday) to co-incide with a meeting of Australian government water ministers.

Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed says she will join the group which will highlight the negative social and economic impacts of the Murray Darling Basin Plan on regional communities.

The rally has been organised by water advocacy group Speak Up, led by Deniliquin farmer Shelley Scoullar.

The group will meet at Southern Cross Station on Friday morning and will make its way along Collins Street to the Park Hyatt Hotel in East Melbourne where a meeting of state and federal water ministers is being held.

Ms Sheed said the rally was an important opportunity for rural communities to publicly voice their concerns about the devastating impact of further water recovery.

“We have a Federal Water Minister who seems determined to ensure that the Murray Darling Basin Plan is rolled out ‘in full and on time’, including the recovery of 450GL of additional ‘upwater’, regardless of the cost to local communities, some of which have already been inordinately negatively impacted,” Ms Sheed said.

“It is also incredibly disappointing that the Minister will not release the Sefton report which summarises the outcomes of recent community consultations on the proposed socio-economic test criteria prior to Friday’s meeting.

“This is an entirely unacceptable situation which shows a blatant disregard for Southern Basin communities who have been working so hard for so long to have their voices heard.