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Basin plan anger grows during Mooroopna drought summit

By Alana Christensen

An infuriated crowd greeted Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, drought envoy Barnaby Joyce and Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum in Mooroopna today.

The crowd of about 100 ensured their voices were heard, continuously interjecting and pushing the politicians to commit to a course of action to address growing concerns about the cost and availability of water, dry conditions and the increasingly unsustainable cost of farming in the region.

Although billed as a drought summit, the 80-minute event was largely about the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, with calls to pause the plan continuing to grow stronger.

While Mr Drum said he ‘‘couldn’t agree more’’ with the sentiment of the pause the plan movement, he did not believe it was the answer and said a planned review, scheduled to occur in 18 months time, should be brought forward instead.

‘‘There will be a real risk to pausing the plan, that’s just the hard, cold reality. If we pause the plan we have no control over how we restart it,’’ he said.

The comment failed to resonate, with a chorus of ‘‘it couldn’t be worse’’ coming from the crowd.

See next week's Country News for more.