Speak up now
Wednesday, 2nd May, 2018
By By Emily Roberts
A prominent local advocate for the Darling River would like people to contact senators and urge them to oppose an attempt to take more water from the Darling and Murray rivers.
Kate McBride and her father Rob, of Tolarno Station, were at the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia yesterday along with more than 100 other people for “Mayday for the Murray” protest.
A Senate vote will be held next week to decide if 650 gigalitres of water will be removed from environmental flows meant for the Southern Basin, including Menindee Lakes and the dry Lower Darling.
The so-called “adjustment” has been tabled by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to reduce water buybacks from irrigators and instead rely on the water being saved by “efficiency” measures and structural works.
The Federal Greens have opposed the move and will present a disallowance motion on Tuesday, May 8.
Ms McBride said the purpose of yesterday’s “Mayday for the Murray” was to alert everyone to the disallowance motion.
“Senator Sarah Hanson-Young attended, it was really positive to see,” she said.
“We want to get people thinking about the Murray and show people that we care about the lower lakes.
“We are all connected, even though they are two different rivers. We all want healthy rivers.”
Ms McBride said it was important to stay positive.
“There is a pretty big push for the disallowance motion. We haven’t lost it - it’s not too late,” she said.
“What we need is people to call their Senators and tell them what is happening.
“The big uncertainty will be Senator Derryn Hinch. We need to call up and encourage him to vote for the disallowance.
“This vote will be a big one because it revolves around the Menindee Lakes.”
Green’s Senator Sarah Hanson-Young spoke with Ms McBride about the issues at hand.
“It was great to chat with Kate McBride from Tolarno Station down at the Murray mouth,” Senator Hanson-Young wrote on her Facebook page.
“We might live hundreds of kilometres away but we’re on the same page when it comes to the river: if the Coorong and Lower Lakes are dying, the rest of the Murray-Darling Basin will suffer.
“We’re calling on the Senate to support the Australian Greens’ motion to block major permanent changes to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan that will rip vital water away from the environment.”
Senator Hanson-Young said she was impressed with the turnout at the Murray Mouth and the commitment to save the rivers from upstream cotton farming.
“Rivers die from the mouth up, and if this end of the river is suffering, the rest of the basin suffers. It’s clear river communities in SA have had enough of the games,” she said.