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The town behind the headlines

Saturday, 25th January, 2020

ABC’s Lisa Millar is hosting ‘Back Roads’, whoch airs 7.30pm on Monday. ABC’s Lisa Millar is hosting ‘Back Roads’, whoch airs 7.30pm on Monday.

By Craig Brealey

A year ago Menindee made world news when millions of fish died in the Darling River but on Monday the town will be shown for the good place it is on one of the nation’s most popular TV series.

“Back Roads” on the ABC visited Menindee in October last year and while the mass fish kill is examined, it promises to tell the story “of the town behind the headlines” and the good humour of the people who live there.

With the wide reach of the documentary series it might not only give people around Australia a better understanding of what has been done to the river but help to attract more visitors, said Graeme McCrabb, vice president of the Menindee Tourist Association.

“We hope it will entice people to visit not only Menindee but other places on the river like Pooncarie and Tilpa,” said Mr McCrabb who was among the many locals interviewed for the program.

“They were filming here for a week, which was pretty exciting for the town,” he said.

“It will give a lot of people the chance to understand everything we have been saying about the river.

“It is hard for people to understand the true situation with the river just from pictures.

“The only way to understand the state of the river is eyes up, standing in the river bed.

“But there is still great beauty in this country here for visitors. We need more of them and I hope, from this show, that tourism will kick in.”

Menindee has attracted plenty of political attention since the fish kills in December 2018 and January last year.

Earlier this month Senator Rex Patrick returned for another visit and only this week local State Mr Roy Butler was back in town.

On Wednesday, he held meetings with the members of the local Advisory Group for the unpopular Menindee Lakes Water Saving Project and the Menindee Water Users Group.

Mr McCrabb said the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP and his colleague Phil Donata, MP for Orange, promised to do what they could in parliament to help save the few remaining vineyards and orchards.

He said they needed a ground water and bore water supply and the MPs will try to help arrange for the government to provide grants and licences for the work. 

“It will obviously be expensive, but if we don’t get rain and there’s no flows, we won’t have crops next year,” he said.

“There won’t be enough to grow new crops; this is just about keeping the permanent plantings alive.”

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