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Grazier selling land for Darling legal action

Tuesday, 3rd September, 2019

Rob McBride addresses the huge crowd at the Save the Darling River rally in Sturt Park last November. PICTURE: Michael Murphy Rob McBride addresses the huge crowd at the Save the Darling River rally in Sturt Park last November. PICTURE: Michael Murphy

By Myles Burt

Grazier Rob McBride is selling his Wyoming Station in order to pursue legal action to save the Darling River. 

Mr McBride plans to auction off his 105,000 acre station on September 20 in Mildura. 

He said the money will go towards paying off some debts but more importantly to fund legal action against what he claims is corruption on the Murray-Darling River system.

“Wyoming’s been a very good block for us, it’s done exceptionally well, but at the end of the day we need to make a stand and have the resources to make the stand,” Mr McBride said.

“Therefore, I’m hopefully going to use some of the resources from the sale of Wyoming to undertake a substantial legal case against the appropriate government agencies.

“It won’t be a cheap exercise.”

Mr McBride said it was very hard decision to sell Wyoming, which he said had been a fantastic asset for wool and goat production. 

He said no grazier or farmer ever wanted to lose land but that it was necessary in order to attempt to bring integrity back to the Darling River, especially as nobody on the river seemed to have the resources or were in a position to effectively fight water mismanagement.

“We don’t see ourselves as special, but we see ourselves as hopefully, with the sale of Wyoming, giving ourselves an ability to effectively fight for those who cannot fight.

“It’s a bigger issue than self; it is for future generations and we have to make a stand for the benefit of everybody from Broken Hill to Wilcannia to Pooncarie.

“Unless we get health back to the Darling River and the Menindee Lakes then the whole Murray-Darling may well collapse.”

Mr McBride said he had been speaking to the Senior Council from the South Australia Royal Commission into Water Mismanagement who has offered some valuable suggestions over legal avenues and how best to approach legal proceedings. 

At the present, Mr McBride said, the hard part now has been trying to select just which government agency to take to court. 

“The corruption is at such a widespread level that it’s no specific body,” he said.

“It is a conglomerate of a number of government instrumentalities.

“There’s so many levels of deliberate corruption that we just need to sort out the best avenue that gives us the ability to find those accountable and sue them accordingly.”

Mr McBride hopes his legal action will be the first of many to come in the Murray-Darling Basin. 

He said he was looking eagerly to see what comes from the current $750 million class action lawsuit against the Murray-Darling Basin Authority by the Southern Riverina Irrigators in the NSW Supreme Court. 

Mr McBride hopes the SRI vs MDBA case will offer some information and potential angles of argument for his own lawsuit. 

Overall, Mr McBride said he was confident that his legal action will be able to bring forth some results.

“Clearly the integrity of the river system has been prostituted for a select few,” he said.

“The reports that come out regularly have shown that to be the case.

“We look forward to their time under the court and associated jail time.”

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