Eureka flags protest water management

By Jamie Salter

The Eureka flag is once again a symbol of rebellion, flying at farming properties from Echuca to Wentworth.

The flag represents a united protest against the continuation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

It originates from the rebellion of goldminers in 1854 at Eureka in Ballarat, where goldminers protested against government laws they believed were unfair.

This included miners having to pay a licence fee whether or not they discovered gold.

Central Murray Environmental Floodplains Group chair Doug Fehring said Victorian and NSW farmers having to pay a water tax, whether or not they received their entitlements, was a similar situation to the Eureka revolt.

“We are active in trying to make our government aware of the inequities of the basin plan,” Mr Fehring said.

He said water allocation was being affected by the basin plan, with environmental holders wasting water and foreign ownership raising prices for local farmers.

Since he began the protest, Mr Fehring has donated 100 Eureka flags across the basin, gathering support from farmers and businesses along the Murray Valley Hwy.

The flags aim to push government authorities and the water bodies to act on the concerns of irrigators.

“The National Party need to stand up and represent the irrigation farming communities that they were put there to do so,” Mr Fehring said.

He said the CMEFG had a list of requirements for the Nationals to implement by the next MinCo meeting.

If the requirements are not met, the group plans to stand candidates in National Party seats to address these problems.