Since Allan Beale returned to the Southern Riverina two years ago he has seen a lot of hardship and financial hurt that he knows should not be happening.
The retired Army officer, who grew up on a farm between Oaklands and Daysdale, cannot understand why governments are prepared to unnecessarily sacrifice the livelihoods of hard-working Australians for political gain.
That is why he has taken on the role of regional coordinator in his local community, encouraging people to join the “Speak Up” campaign’s Convoy to Canberra on December 2 and 3 against the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
“I want to help correct a man-made rural crisis, by standing up and helping where I can,” Allan says.
“We need to ‘Can the Plan’, and that is obvious to pretty much everyone living this nightmare.
“But unfortunately, we have politicians who appear to put politics and self-interest ahead of what is best for our communities.
“We need to come together in force and make them listen,” he said.
Mr Beale remembers life on the family farm, and the difference it made when irrigation was established to help drought-proof the region and turn it into a vital Australian food bowl.
“We had a big turkey’s nest dam that caught all the run-off water and was recycled by tractor pump for spray irrigation. We’d get a good kick in the backside if water was wasted by not switching off syphons at the right time, or not moving sprays when required.
“Now we’re prepared to waste water through the mismanagement that is happening, but at the same time our food producers are on zero allocation.”
Mr Beale says it is also extremely frustrating that solutions exist to the present crisis, but governments are not prepared to listen to rural people and work collaboratively on better water management.
“Water should not be a tradable commodity, and the water trading rort has to be stopped. We must also stop the waste of water by flooding forests, causing wildlife to be drowned, fish kills and doing little other than helping to breed more European carp.
“We have to stop the blatant stupidity which we are seeing through the Basin Plan in its current form and restore the balance, so we protect food producers and our nation’s food security.
“I want to see Australia’s food bowl flourishing again, so farmers and their communities are not destroyed by the ridiculous situation we presently face,” Mr Beale said.
Mr Beale is a regional coordinator for the Convoy to Canberra, which will highlight inequities in the Basin Plan and demand a meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling for him to show leadership, intervene and fix the mess that governments have created.
Busloads heading to Canberra for rally
Busloads of people from throughout the Border region will converge on Canberra next week for the Convoy to Canberra protest rally.
Organisers are delighted with the response to the rally, which is calling for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan to be fixed.
Buses taking rally participants to Canberra will leave from the Border region early on Monday, December 2.
The first departure will be from Yackandandah at 4.45am, followed by 6am departure from the Auskick carpark at the northern corner of Wodonga Turf Club in Brockley St.
Next stop will be SS&A Club in Wilson St, Albury for a 6.30am departure, and Holbrook and Gundagai stops can also be arranged.
Anyone from the region who wants to participate in the rally, or seek further information, is asked to contact Mr Beale on 0428 450 376 or [email protected] It is a free bus service provided by Fallons Bus Lines.