Thousands rally to 'Fix the Plan'

Irrigators demand the government 'Fix the Plan' at Tocumwal rally


Politics
Close to 3000 people stood on the banks of the Murray River to rally to 'Fix the Plan.'

Close to 3000 people stood on the banks of the Murray River to rally to 'Fix the Plan.'

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Effigy of Minister Littleproud is thrown into the Murray River at water rally.

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Close to 3000 people have gathered on the banks of the Murray River in Tocumwal, NSW, to demand the government 'Fix the Plan.'

Much of the protesters' anger was directed towards federal Water Resources Minister, David Littleproud, the rally culminating in throwing an effigy of the minister into the Murray River.

An effigy of Water Minister, David Littleproud is thrown into the Murray River

Irrigator group leaders spoke to the huge crowd, with Jan Beer of the Upper Goulburn River Catchment Association, asking protesters to pass four motions to 'fix the plan'.

The motions included calling for the Victorian and NSW governments to immediately withdraw from the implementing the plan, the federal government pause, review and revise the plan, the removal of David Littleproud from his water portfolio and 1000 gigalitres of conveyance water be allocated to Southern Basin irrigators.

All motions were enthusiastically passed by a show of hands from the crowd and Mrs Beer warned the government that further protest action would take place if the motions were not acted on in the next two weeks.

"Basin communities are desperate and we will hound governments and political representatives until they take action," Mrs Beer said.

Blighty dairy farmer, Lachlan Marshall speaks to the crowd

Blighty, NSW, dairy farmer, Lachlan Marshall, also spoke, asking irrigators to help spread the word of what was happening to people living in the city.

"We need to get a message that goes further than our community, we need to reach out to our city cousins and we need to use whatever means possible," Mr Marshall said.

"Your mobile phone is your most powerful tool at your disposal, I want you all to shoot videos of what's happening in your environment and I want you to share them with your friends and families from the cities, tag your local ministers.

"We need to get the message further than our own backyard."

The 'Fix the Plan' rally marches through the streets of Tocumwal to cross the Murray River

Southern Riverina Irrigators deputy chairman Darcy Hare went through the set of objectives outlined by the Murray Darling Basin Plan including to promote the use and management of the basin water resources in a way that optimises environmental, economic and social outcomes.

"Now we have huge job losses, ever increasing mental health issues, economic output is massively debilitated, we have 383 dairies that have closed in the last 12 months, we have environmental damage from river banks slumping, fish kills and countless other examples," Mr Hare said in response to the plan's objective.

Much of the anger at the rally was directed towards federal Water Resources Minister, David Littleproud. This effigy of him was placed in a toilet on a truck with "Food Bowl - Dust Bowl' written on it before the effigy was thrown into the Murray River.

Much of the anger at the rally was directed towards federal Water Resources Minister, David Littleproud. This effigy of him was placed in a toilet on a truck with "Food Bowl - Dust Bowl' written on it before the effigy was thrown into the Murray River.

Southern Riverina Irrigators chairman Chris Brooks said most crops in their area had only two weeks without water before they would die, a similar situation to where irrigators were at this time last year.

"We're desperate for water immediately to keep crops alive and we need changes to the plan to ever have a future here again," Mr Brooks said.

He urged the crowd to keep fighting for change.

"It's going to be tough, I don't want you to despair, whatever happens, we're not going to give up," Mr Brooks said.

"Stand your ground, don't do what they want you to do which is shut up and go away because you're embarrassing them."

All ages attended the rally, marching across the bridge over the Murray River.

All ages attended the rally, marching across the bridge over the Murray River.

Liberal and National politicians were not in attendance at the rally but independent and minority party MPs from both sides of the Murray spoke including, Member for Murray, Helen Dalton, Member for Northern Victoria, Tim Quilty and Member for Shepparton, Suzanna Sheed.

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The story Thousands rally to 'Fix the Plan' first appeared on The Land.

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