The New Year needs to be a time to accept past mistakes in water management and work towards resolving them.
Speak Up Campaign chair Lachlan Marshall said the past approach of ignoring bad decisions and policy needs to change. He says we need to stop the denial and work towards protecting our nation’s future.
“Water policy is a complex issue and it is inevitable that in a changing world we will make mistakes while trying to keep abreast of the need for constant development and adjustment,” Mr Marshall said.
“Unfortunately, problems are presently occurring because people in authority are not prepared to admit mistakes, or work towards finding the best solutions. They remain in denial, which appears largely to be a self-protection mechanism.
“In 2021, Speak Up wants to see a fresh approach where authorities can work with communities and develop more effective water management that balances various needs of environment, food production and human consumption or recreation.
“We especially need greater courage from our Federal Government, to acknowledge the Basin Plan is not delivering the intended results and make commitments to rectify its flaws.
“Continually promoting a mantra to deliver the Basin Plan ‘in full and on time’, regardless of the consequences, is a weak approach that lacks the leadership we need from our federal representatives,” Mr Marshall said.
He specifically called on local federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley to “stand up and be counted” in the new year.
“Everyone involved in the water space appreciates that Ms Ley has a very difficult job, as she tries to balance the competing needs of her role as a Cabinet member with those of her responsibilities as our local Member of Parliament.
“The vast majority of farmers are extremely disappointed with the lack of representation she has shown on our behalf in 2020. That’s the reality; only her most ardent supporters would disagree with it.
“With talk of a federal election in 2021 we want Ms Ley to show us why the electorate of Farrer should have faith in her ability to continue representing us. That means taking a strong stance that demands changes to the failing Basin Plan, and speaking out in her role as Environment Minister against the environmental damage being caused by excess river flows.”
Mr Marshall said Speak Up wants to work collaboratively with Ms Ley and other politicians to fix the Basin Plan, along with addressing other failed water policies and protect our communities.
“We can’t do that when she ignores the cries for help from her constituents,” he concluded.