The Speak Up Campaign originated in 2015 as a Facebook Page to highlight the important role water plays in food production and rural communities. Bringing to attention the positive outcomes derived from irrigated agriculture, including ecological outcomes.

Within a few months a full media campaign was developed to increase the education messaging - highlighting the adverse social, economic and ecological impacts the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan was causing.

During this journey our role has broadened as we have brought together many communities across the Southern Basin (predominately) for numerous rallies, protests and other events. The most recent event we helped coordinate was the Convoy to Canberra, which had supporters from outside the Murray Darling Basin helping support our case.

Our aim is to be a voice for the grassroots. We want transparency around water management decisions and the implementation of the Basin plan.

Our vision is to have vibrant rural communities working in harmony with their local environment, where locals are key to decision making.

Basin Communities want a Basin Plan that delivers for communities, the environment and food security.


Shelley Scoullar - Chair

Co-founder of the Speak Up Campaign Shelley is the mother of three boys and married to Paul. Prior to relocating to Albury in 2019 Shelley worked alongside her father on the property owned by herself and Paul, and the family farm where she grew up.

While the businesses predominately focussed cereal crops, Shelley and her father shared a love of rice growing and the wildlife it supported.

Shelley’s ambition is to better educate those who have not had the opportunity to develop an appreciation of the benefits of irrigated agriculture and the role it can play in helping meet ecological outcomes. Despite a tough decision to sell the family farms in 2019 Shelley continues to be a driver of Speak Up.

Lachlan Marshall - Deputy Chair

Lachlan Marshall works alongside his wife Gen and brother Adam, and manages one of the most progressive dairy farms in the country. Moving into the Blighty region in 2006, the 4th generation dairy farmers saw the potential of the region to develop their herd and business.

Being close to freight and many dairy processors the brothers saw the reliability of water delivered through the most efficient irrigation system in the world as key to their vision. Unfortunately, the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan has significantly impacted on the business, increasing input costs exponentially, despite their best efforts to overhaul and modernise their business to ensure it was able to survive the ebbs and flows of the nation’s rainfall.

Lachlan joined Speak Up in 2018 as deputy chair because he agreed with the approach the organisation was taking to advocating for the grassroots. He believes that people power is the key to changing government policy and educating the wider public on the failings of the implementation of the Basin Plan is paramount in achieving the changes need to see the survival of the dairy industry.

Linda Fawns - Secretary/ Treasurer

Linda and her husband Steve Fawns run a mixed farming enterprise outside of Deniliquin. Although not originally from Deniliquin Linda has taken on many key roles within the rural community which rice is the major employer.

While the main focus for Steve and Linda is breeding rams for the Sabre Poll Dorset Stud which was established by Steve’s father, Linda and Steve are dependant or the reliable and affordable water to grow feed for stock. When water is available they also grow rice.

Linda is involved in Speak Up because she believes that changing policy takes a united effort, where everyone has a role to play. While some will be influential in the background, those who are more outspoken are needed to rally the troops and keep the issue in media.


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Speak Up was established by a group of passionate farmers and community members in the Southern Riverina. We aim to highlight the issues impacting Southern New South Wales and Northern Victoria.


T: 0414 960 785

E: speakup4water@gmail.com