Big pats on the back for #fairflow efforts

By Country News

We want to give a big thanks to everyone in the community who got behind Goulburn Murray Irrigation District Water Leadership Group’s #fairflow campaign over the last two months.

A picture tells a thousand words, and personal stories cut to the chase like no other.

The Murray-Darling Basin ministers could hardly look at their social media feeds without seeing GMID farmers, small businesspeople, sporting teams and so many others explaining, in their own words, what they stood to lose if another 450Gl was sourced from irrigators.

Posts and videos were shared hundreds of times and reached more than 30000 people across Australia.

The ministers listened and have agreed no further water will be recovered from irrigators in Victoria and NSW, and a wider socio-economic impact assessment will be developed for future water recovery projects.

The outcome is a solid first step towards delivering the Murray-Darling Basin Plan as intended, as a triple-bottom-line reform.

We will need to remain vigilant to ensure what was promised is delivered, but in the meantime, give yourselves a pat on the back.

The leadership was there, the GMID community shouted — and the politicians listened.

—Suzanna Sheed and

David McKenzie, co-chairs

Goulburn Murray Irrigation

District Water Leadership Group

Balanced outcomes are campaign’s goals

Re: ‘Work together to revive all life in the Murray-Darling Basin’ (Letter to the Editor, Country News, June 19).

I would hardly call a group of 10 people from the Speak Up Campaign having a $300 breakfast a ‘‘shutdown at the Hyatt’’, as stated in the letter.

Our small group followed all instructions from hotel staff and police present. In fact, in contrast to many stunts pulled by activist groups, it was a teddy bears’ picnic.

While we welcome efforts by all organisations to ‘‘come together and revive all life throughout the basin’’, it is important that efforts to achieve these goals are based on facts.

Friends of the Earth needs to understand that removing water from communities along the Murray will not solve the problems of the Darling, as they are different systems.

It should also accept the indisputable fact that the end of the system, which so many environmentalists want to save, was traditionally estuarine.

Taking steps to return it to this state, as well as looking at water supply alternatives for Adelaide (for example, desalination) and massive South Australian waterfront housing developments would be a huge step in the right direction.

So would basin-wide standardised metering and compliance.

If you look at the policy of Speak Up on our website you will find that the organisation has worked with a wide number of groups to develop options to maximise ecological outcomes while limiting impacts to rural communities. That is real balance.

Unlike many activists, we live and work in the basin, love our environment and want it protected for our families and future generations.

The current Murray-Darling Basin Plan is causing many negative environmental outcomes along the Murray, but you won’t hear about that from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

Speak Up is always happy to work with groups to get balanced outcomes and would be happy to speak with anyone from Friends of the Earth.

—Stuart Hipwell

Speak Up Campaign member