‘Pause’ campaign to host Barooga forum

By Southern Riverina News

With the Pause the Plan campaign gaining momentum, the next meeting is being organised for Barooga.

It will be held on Wednesday, March 20 at the Barooga Sporties from 7pm.

The Pause the Plan campaign is highlighting the flaws in the Basin Plan and the need for governments to pause it, review it and fix it, to stop the community and environmental damage it is causing.

Successful meetings have been held in Barham and Deniliquin, and a Southern Basin media campaign has been organised in newspapers across the Sunraysia, NSW Murray and Murrumbidgee regions.

The Barooga meeting is being hosted by Southern Riverina Irrigators.

Its deputy chair Darcy Hare said the momentum the campaign had generated in a short time is in some respects quite unbelievable, but in others not surprising.

‘‘There is an unprecedented level of frustration across our regions at a Basin Plan that is failing on almost every count. A whole host of reports and studies continue to highlight its shortcomings, yet we have governments who are sitting on their hands doing nothing,’’ Mr Hare said.

‘‘We need support from the grassroots to turn this around. We believe people power is the only way we can convince politicians that we will not sit back and accept this debacle any longer.’’

Mr Hare said at the Barooga meeting there would be a presentation on the current status of the Basin Plan and why it needs to be paused and reviewed. The presentation, question time and call for support will take less than two hours.

‘‘It is not a long meeting, but it may be the most important meeting you will attend not only this year, but for years to come. As a community we cannot allow the present situation to continue.

‘‘It is beyond comprehension that our region remains on zero allocation, while at the same time water is being poured down the system to South Australia at such a rate that it is flooding into the forests. This has not only wasted more than 300,000 gigalitres over summer, it is causing damage to the Murray River and providing ideal breeding conditions for European carp, which we were supposed to be trying to eliminate.

‘‘Governments and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority must be held to account for the disaster they call a Basin Plan. It’s not a plan, it’s a wrecking ball. How can a civilized society accept the wastage of 300,000 gigalitres, and at the same time prioritise water for boating regattas in South Australia at the expense of food production and the environment? It must stop.

‘‘I would encourage everyone with an interest in the future of our region to join our Pause the Plan fight. Communities can make a difference, so please attend our meeting at Barooga, and be better informed about the efforts being made to highlight our issues and deal with the disaster that is unfolding.

‘‘As a region, if we are to win this battle we must work and fight together.’’

For further information contact Darcy Hare on 0437 794 723 or email Southern Riverina Irrigators at [email protected]