Canberra water rally gathering pace

Northern and southern irrigators to rally in Canberra

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An aerial view of the choke between the North and South Lagoons in the Coorong after a prolonged dry spell in March 2008. Photo: David Mariuz

An aerial view of the choke between the North and South Lagoons in the Coorong after a prolonged dry spell in March 2008. Photo: David Mariuz

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Across the Murray Darling Basin deep concern is drawing a crowd to Canberra to demand an audience with PM Scott Morrison about what happoens next.

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IF POLITICIANS still have doubts about the upset the Murray Darling Basin Plan is causing, on Tuesday protestors will descend on Canberra, rally and then set up camp waiting for a response from the country's lawmakers.

Desperate farmers, community leaders and business operators say to this point their protests have fallen on deaf ears.

Organisers says "Can the Plan" will be their catchcry during the Convoy to Canberra, set for Monday December 2 and Tuesday December 3.

"It started as a protest from communities in the southern part of the Basin, but family farmers in the Northern Basin have asked if they can join, and their support has been gratefully accepted," said rally co-organiser Carly Marriot.

"Virtually everyone who makes the effort to learn about the Basin Plan and its adverse impacts has developed an understanding of the unnecessary pain and suffering to hard-working Australians," she said.

"Yet federal Water Minister David Littleproud flatly refuses to protect our people. It appears he was told the day he was appointed Water Minister that the plan must barge ahead, regardless of the consequences, and he simply will not sway from that position.

"We find it quite unbelievable that a National Party representative would take such a stand, but that's what we have to deal with," said Mrs Marriot.

"We are hoping that by converging on Canberra the Prime Minister and other colleagues will see that we have had enough of being used as pawns in a political game, and we are not going to sit back meekly and allow it to continue."

During the Canberra protest, organisers will be calling for a meeting with Mr Morrison to try and explain to him why the Basin Plan needs to be either "ripped up", as recently suggested by NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro, or at the very least paused and repaired.

"Implementing the Basin Plan is wrecking Australia's food bowl. Water continues to drain into the Southern Ocean, while families, farms and communities are closing down.

"Australia needs a sustainable and healthy river system; our economy, food security and well-being depend on it, now and in the future. That is why we need immediate action and involvement of the Prime Minister," Mrs Marriott said.

Pumps on the Murray River at Caurnamont, SA.

Pumps on the Murray River at Caurnamont, SA.

She said people from across the Basin would be involved in the convoy, at this stage they are waiting for confirmation if anyone from South Australia would attend, which is not surprising because that is where so much water is being wasted for political purposes.

"Regardless, we would welcome any South Australians who want to join our protest, especially those who want effective and fair water policy, or those interested in saving the Lower Lakes and the Coorong, because the Basin Plan won't do that," Mrs Marriott said.

She added the Murray-Darling Basin is important to the national economy, supporting tens of thousands of businesses and more than 2.6 million people.

"We have made an incredible mess of the Basin Plan, which is such a shame and so unnecessary. If Mr Littleproud could show the courage to admit this, we wouldn't need to be travelling to Canberra.

"But we'll be there in droves and hopefully Prime Minister Morrison will display the leadership we are seeking," Mrs Marriott said.

Anyone seeking more information about the Convoy to Canberra can phone Jan Beer 0407 144 777 or email speakup4water@gmail.com

The convoy will gather at the Yass Caltex Service Station at 11am on Monday December 2.

It will then travel to Canberra where a "water embassy" will be established in Federation Mall and a vigil will begin.

The vigil will continue through Tuesday and arrangements are being made for those who want to roll out a swag.

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