News

Speak Up and show support

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

The Speak Up Campaign is appealing for public help to continue advocating on behalf of the region.

It has instigated a fundraising drive to generate funds that will enable the group to continue advocating on behalf of NSW and Victorian communities, particularly around water management.

Chair Shelley Scoullar said since it was established five years ago Speak Up has worked with numerous organisations and individuals to seek changes that would address the impacts of poor water policies on our farmers and the townships that rely on them.

‘‘At last, with enormous public support, we appear to be making headway,’’ she said.

‘‘Announcements by Water Minister Keith Pitt last week are undoubtedly a step in the right direction. It has been a long and arduous process and we are a long way from the finish line, but at least we can see light at the end of the tunnel.

‘‘We cannot afford to give up now, but there may be no other option if we cannot get a financial lifeline.’’

Mrs Scoullar said funds generated by Speak Up are primarily used to ensure it obtains professional research assistance and maintains a media presence.

She said Speak Up has worked collaboratively with scientists to obtain quality, well-researched data on how to best manage our precious water resource.

It has also built strong working relationships with regional and metropolitan media across print, radio and television. 

It is often the ‘go to’ organisation when comment is sought on current water issues, in particular relating to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

‘‘We have also developed a strong social media presence, currently with more than 13,000 followers. 

‘‘We use social media extensively to promote rural messages to these followers, many of whom are from metropolitan areas. 

‘‘It is important they understand the importance of balancing water use so we can grow the food and fibre needed not only domestically, but throughout the world.

‘‘Additionally, Speak Up now has extensive political contacts and we are able to advocate on behalf of our communities, highlighting the importance of water reform.

‘‘We want to see an end to the environmental damage being caused by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s ‘just add water’ approach, and we agree with Minister Pitt’s comments last week that we need more community engagement around water policy.

‘‘These are all areas in which Speak Up has been involved, and we believe our contribution to the water debate has assisted in getting to last week’s announcements. It would be a shame if this was to end through lack of funding.’’

Mrs Scoullar said anyone who can assist Speak Up in its fundraising drive, which may include becoming a member at any level, should visit the website www.speakup4water.com, email speakup4water@gmail.com or phone Sue Braybon on 0409 314 174.