Country News

Farmers rally in Melbourne

By Geoff Adams

Dozens of irrigators and community leaders are marching in Melbourne this morning to protest the impact of the Murray Darling Basin Plan on their communities.

“We want to be heard. We want the ministers to listen to our concerns and understand that we are hurting,” explained organiser Shelley Scoullar, from the Speak Up Campaign.

“We also want to talk to them about ways we can help build a plan that protects the environment, as well as our communities.

“They are talking about the future of our homes, our jobs, our friends and neighbours. We know their bureaucratic advisers are only going to treat us like numbers in their modelling; they’ve shown us time and again they do not care what happens to rural Australia.

“So we are here today pleading with the ministers to listen to us, work with us on solutions and protect our communities and people,” Mrs Scoullar said.

She added significant issues had developed across numerous areas of the Basin Plan which was drafted with insufficient time and inadequate modelling.

“The impacts on some of our rural towns have been disastrous, with job losses of up to 50 per cent which is unacceptable in anyone’s language.

“The job losses that were predicted by the MDBA in its modelling are a joke; the trouble is, we’re not laughing.”