AIMING to put the importance of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan back on the agenda, a series of meetings were held across the basin recently called the Healthy Rivers Roadshow.
The roadshow was supported by the Lifeblood Alliance, which includes the Australian Conservation Foundation, Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations, Conservation Council SA and Environment Victoria, and were organised by community members leading action on the ground.
The 11 meetings, which ran from Dubbo, NSW, to Wodonga, Vic, and down to the Murray Mouth in SA, aimed to give local communities a chance to voice their ideas and concerns in the lead-up to community lobbying during National Water Week, which begins on Saturday in Canberra.
The 700 or so attendees heard from local community members, including river management experts, bird lovers, traditional owners, irrigators, pastoralists and artists, and were given advice on how to get involved in standing up for the basin plan, sign petitions and record video messages for decision-makers in Canberra.
Lower Darling Healthy Rivers fellow and Far West NSW grazier Katharine McBride said it was important people across the basin stood up and supported the MDB Plan.
“With the recent corruption allegations being made on Four Corners, and various other distracting actions going on between the states, we are deeply concerned some states have no intent on making sure the MDB Plan is implemented,” she said.
“We can’t let the basin plan be eroded. We need it implemented on time and in full and we need greater transparency around how that plan is implemented and how money allocated is being invested.”
Five meetings were held in SA, where Mrs McBride said the health of the River Murray, Coorong and the Lower Lakes were of concern, while at the Broken Hill and Menindee meetings in Far West NSW, the $500-million Menindee Pipeline Project was a hot topic.