MDBP petition

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

A petition drawing attention to the devastating impacts of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan on rural communities has been launched.

It is an initiative of the Speak Up Campaign, which wants 10,000 signatures to ensure the issue will be debated in the NSW Parliament.

The petition says it ‘‘brings to the attention of the House the devastating and inequitable impacts to rural communities and to ecosystems and the environment across regional NSW due to poor water policy, in particular the Murray Darling Basin Plan’’, and continues:

The undersigned petitioners therefore ask the Legislative Assembly to support

  1. Call for a Federal Royal Commission into the Murray Darling Basin Plan and the Murray Darling Basin Authority. It must include a just and broad Terms of Reference (determined in conjunction with impacted communities) that investigates the impacts of Flood Plain Harvesting and the historically estuarine nature of the Lower Lakes.
  2. NSW Government petition the Federal Government to establish a Public National Water Register to increase the transparency of water ownership across the Basin.

Speak Up Chair Shelley Scoullar said it was important to improve knowledge by politicians of the Basin Plan and its impacts, and a debate on the floor of parliament can help this process. If 10,000 signatures can be achieved the petition must be debated, and she believes it will get strong support from politicians who understand what the Basin Plan is doing to our state.

“But unfortunately many MPs in New South Wales, and across the nation, do not grasp what is happening under the appalling water policy that is being forced down our throats.

‘‘Speak Up will not leave any stone unturned in our efforts to get better outcomes for the environment and rural communities. Despite what (water minister) David Littleproud says, the current plan will not solve the problems of the Darling or the Coorong, and in the process it is destroying the environment along the Murray and its tributaries,’’ Mrs Scoullar said.

She added it seemed the only way to bring about change was through people power.

‘‘We have tried the easy way - sitting down with politicians and their bureaucrats to talk about the solutions but there is not the willpower for change, so we have to create it. The petition is one way to do this.’’

Petitions can be downloaded from the Speak Up website or Facebook page, and once filled out they need to be returned as per instructions at the bottom of the petition (they cannot be scanned and emailed or faxed).

Blank petitions can be picked up from the offices of Member for Murray Helen Dalton, at 228 Cressy St Deniliquin. Completed petitions can also be returned to the same address.

Alternatively, anyone able to help by collecting signatures can contact Speak Up by email on [email protected] or phone 0414 960 785 and petitions will be sent to you.