News

Water walk to make Deni stop

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

District landholder and Barham Koondrook Bridge editor Lloyd Polkinghorne can no longer ‘‘sit by’’ and watch his region be decimated by poorly written and executed water policy.

And he’s doing more than just taking a stand, too.

‘Lloyd’s Walk for Water’ will see the 36 year-old walk more than 300km between Barham and the Hume Dam over two weeks from August 15.

Along the way he will stop in Deniliquin, Blighty, Finley, Berrigan, Howlong and Corowa to host awareness and fundraising nights.

He hopes to host an end of walk event at Hume Dam on August 29, depending on what will be allowed under COVID-19 rules.

Mr Polkinghorne said he will also document his discussions with landholders and community members along the way.

‘‘Coming off the land myself, I see inequality in the way policy is being derived and that people in our region are not being listened to,’’ he said.

‘‘At rallies hosted by Speak Up, Murray Regional Strategy Group and other groups to date we’ve been labelled simply as angry irrigators.

‘‘But these problems are more diverse than political party lines. For me this is about the people, our communities, our environment.

‘‘I thought this would be a non-confrontational way to tell the stories of people who live in the basin. A story not limited to state boundaries, crop types or certain communities. 

‘‘Through meeting, videoing, photographing, and sharing with people, I hope we can raise awareness of the disastrous impact of this failing of public policy.

‘‘Enough is enough. I’ve got two legs, a heartbeat, a voice and I plan to use them.’’

Mr Polkinghorne is partnering with BEEFitUP Australia — a social enterprise supporting rural communities — to host social events in each of the towns he stops in, and raise money for the 1000 Paddocks campaign.

The campaign enables BEEFitUP Australia to continue its work in small towns, by giving them a hand up and a night out.

‘‘We’ll have social nights with a comedian, and any money generated from the night will go to basin communities,’’ Mr Polkinghorne said.

Events will be held at the Sportsman’s Arms Hotel in north Deniliquin on Monday, August 17, and then at the Blighty Hotel on Wednesday, August 19.

Other events will be held in Finley on August 21, Berrigan on August 22 and Howlong on August 26.

Mr Polkinghorne announced his walk for water just over a week ago, at the same time he launched an intensive training program.

‘‘It’s gradually ramping up,’’ he said.

‘‘I do a seven or eight kilometre walk three days a week, have a rest day on Friday and then walk 15km on a Saturday.

‘‘On Sunday I will change to cycling, and Mondays I do strength training

‘‘During the walk itself I intend to walk for five days and then have a rest day.

‘‘I will average about 25km a day, with the longest single leg being about 30km.’’

To donate, go to beefitupaustralia.org and click on the ‘Donate to Lloyd’s Walk for Water’ button on the home page.