Tolarno backs Jack
Wednesday, 24th April, 2019
By Callum Marshall
Tolarno Station’s Rob McBride has thrown his and the station’s support behind the Labor candidate for Parkes in the upcoming federal election.
The water activist, a key regional figure campaigning for better protection of the Murray Darling river system, met with Labor’s candidate Jack Ayoub last week; highlighting the state of the river and Menindee Lakes.
Mr McBride, who supported the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (SFF) candidate, now MP, Roy Butler during the recent state election, called on locals and people across the basin system to bring forth change in the federal electorate.
“We need change. If you stay with what you’ve got, the disaster will continue to unfold,” Mr McBride said.
“A lot of people don’t have any respect for the National party, including myself going forward, and therefore we look to the person who’s going to best protect the rivers into the future.
“I’ve had a chance to speak to Jack and he understands and respects the river and that’s what we need, we need people in Australia to start respecting the river in politics.
“A lot of people don’t trust politicians anymore and rightly so, they’ve totally betrayed the trust of people.
“And not only on the Darling River but for communities such as the Barkindji.”
Mr McBride said the river system was ‘collapsing’ and that over-extraction, greed and corruption had all been allowed to take place across the Murray-Darling.
“Next year South Australian water entitlements go to fourteen per cent and traditionally the Murray Darling fed 40 million people. It’s collapsing,” he said.
“I sat in front to a royal commission about two years ago and said that.
“So what’s happening now on the Murray and Murrumbidgee is genuine good irrigators and farmers are losing their properties.
“This should not happen and it has nothing to do with drought.
“Over the last ten years the rains have effectively fallen in the Northern basin as they had in the millennium before.
“The fact is, over-extraction, greed and corruption have all taken place.
“The Four Corners program ‘Pumped’ made it abundantly clear that theft and corruption were taking place.
“And what’s the federal government and (Parkes MP) Mark Coulton done for us since? Not a lot. I think I saw Mark at one meeting in that many years.”
Mr McBride said it wasn’t about political parties but whoever he thought was best placed to address the river issues.
“We support all people, not parties,” he said.
“In South Australia, we did a bit of work with (Greens Senator) Sarah Hanson Young.
“In the next few weeks, coming up from Adelaide, is the Centre Alliance’s Rex Patrick.
“I’ve been in contact with him and he’ll come up to our station.
“So no, it’s not a change of direction at all. It’s supporting the people who support the river and we’ve done that.
“I think Labor is one of the groups who can really work hard to get this river back to health.
“And the fact is, is that Australians now know that if you just donkey-elect the same people you’ve had since last time then the same things are going to happen.
“However, in the recent state election, we changed seventy percent of the electorate of New South Wales over to two people who wanted to protect the river system, (the SFF’s) Helen Dalton and Roy Butler.
“That result was amazing and it was great to see the people of Broken Hill really get behind the Shooters and Fishers.
“They moved to the best person who could support their river and they did it despite what political party they came from.
“And equally so this time, we would like everyone to know that Jack is the man who understands the river, he wants to get into parliament and protect it and that’s what we need.”