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Canberra delegation

Speak Up wants to be heard in Canberra

On Friday in Canberra, the Ministerial Council meeting of Water Ministers will be held.

Also in Canberra will be a delegation from the region's irrigation lobby group Speak Up, determined to ensure the collective views of southern Murray Darling Basin communities are heard.

In April, the group wrote to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball calling for a meeting, to express their concerns with the Murray Darling Basin Plan, after no answer they have now decided to tackle the water ministers.

Speak Up campaign chairwoman Shelley Scoullar said the message being delivered was simple.

“All we want is a guarantee that our communities will be protected. We don’t think that is too much to ask."

“As the Government proceeds with implementing the Murray-Darling Basin Plan it keeps breaking promises and ignoring calls to avoid damaging forever
the social and economic fabric of our country towns and their rural surrounds.

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“We do not think this is acceptable and want that fact to be known.

“There is enough water for the environment and the needs of our farmers, but what we are sadly lacking is the political willpower to achieve the effective
balance that has been promised for a decade.

“All we get are broken promises, political deals and a bureaucracy that gets fed billions of dollars, yet doesn’t have the courage to stand up and say ‘there is a better way’, and ‘we can’t do this without hurting people’.

“In the meantime we have population and job losses in some areas of 50 per cent. That is unacceptable in any Australian community.”

Mrs Scoullar said regional communities which are being adversely impacted by the Basin Plan want genuine consultation and updates on what politicians have planned for their future.

“We don’t want the ‘tick a box’ consultation that has been part of the process so far, and we want our politicians to listen and understand our concerns. That came out loud and clear at the water forum.”