Water

A return to Canberra for farmers?

By James Bennett

If new Federal Water Minister Keith Pitt takes a ‘slowly slowly’ approach to his portfolio, farmers will again be rallying in Canberra, says one water advocacy group.

Speak Up is already seemingly disenchanted by Mr Pitt's appointment as David Littleproud's replacement, and has gone as far as to suggest a second version of Convoy to Canberra is on the cards.

Speak Up said some farmers had suggested taking a "civil disobedience" approach in order to capture the attention of politicians and national media.

Convoy to Canberra co-organsier Jan Beer, from Yea, said many Speak Up members were frustrated Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum wasn't appointed water minister.

She said Mr Drum already had an understanding of "what needs to be done" compared to Mr Pitt who will need some education as his electorate isn't in the Murray-Darling Basin.

“It appeared some progress was being made, at long last, with David Littleproud,” Mrs Beer said.

“So is this a ploy to get Mr Littleproud out of the firing line and further stall any efforts to fix the basin plan? It certainly looks that way.”

Mrs Beer said Mr Pitt must start listening to the southern basin farming community or he would soon face angry opposition.

“We will not accept another lengthy period trying to get our messages across,” she said.

“We will be rallying again if Mr Pitt does not immediately come down to our region, learn about the unnecessary economic and environmental damage, and take steps to fix it.

“. . . if we have to bring Canberra to a standstill to demand action, that’s what we will be doing.”