As a healthy rivers ambassador and river fellow for over four years I have worked closely on the issues facing the Murray-Darling Basin.
It was with a heavy heart that I travelled to Menindee to walk in solidarity with people of this basin community at their rally on March 3.
I know that if our lobbying efforts – directed towards both the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and relevant politicians – had been listened to, this devastation could have been avoided.
The blame for these failings rest with both the federal and New South Wales governments.
Their blatant disregard for the basin plan and its intent, and the manipulation, erosion and maladministration used to skew the plan to benefit their big corporate mates, is nothing short of contemptible.
Right now, their propaganda bus rolls on, pitting communities upstream against those downstream, environment against irrigator – all to ensure there is no clarity for voters, who are angry and distressed about the state of our river systems.
I have always worked in some type of primary industry, the last decade and a half in the dairy industry.
Running for the Greens in the federal seat of Barker – and being a healthy rivers ambassador fighting for the Murray-Darling Basin, its communities and the environment – does not mean I am against graziers, dairy farmers and irrigators.
It means that I care about fairness and a sustainable future for all, especially considering I have friends and family from all walks of life.
I want my grandchildren to have safe, clean drinking water and the opportunities that we have had in the past.
What is even more devastating to me is not only the devastation of these great rivers lakes and the Coorong, but the decimation of hard-working families across the basin due to greed by a few and the fact that so many people believe the rhetoric by the federal government and continue to reward their corrupt, bad behaviour by continuing to support and vote for them.
Governments that can do this are not governments that should be supported – they are not there for us.
If they had any respect or empathy for these communities, why does it fall to other communities to transport and donate drinking water?
Why hasn’t the current government managed this?
Where is their compassion and authentic response to this disaster?
Rosa Hillam is the Greens candidate for Barker.