Australia – GetUp – Help save our family farm

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We wanted to pass on this message from Mark, a GetUp member and local farmer on the Murray Darling. GetUp has not shared your personal information with anyone.

Dear Members of GetUp,

My name is Mark Etheridge and along with my partner Mog and our daughters Clancy and Lily, we run a 50,000 hectare certified organic farm near Wilcannia in the Murray Darling Basin.

Over time, we have seen a steady decline in the quality of the water. In the past 15 years we have experienced 13 algal blooms, high salinity and many cease to flow events. These events are getting more and more frequent threatening our farm, and the farms of many others.

My family are speaking up. Doing nothing is not an option. If the Murray Darling Basin Authority do not base the plan for the Basin on science and return the rivers to health we could be ruined. Please, join with us and sign this petition to Water Minister Tony Burke to restore independent scientific review to the Basin plan.

Please add your voice to GetUp’s campaign:

We graze our country at sustainable levels. In times of drought we produce less, after it floods the land can sustain more grazing. To me being sustainable means that we leave the country, the land, to our children and theirs in better condition than when we started our venture.

The economic benefit of sustainable farming spreads though out the community, supporting processing facilities, transport companies, retail outlets, local employees and countless others.

But all of that could become of thing of the past. The large scale irrigation industries up stream of us are having a massive impact on our river system and therefore our livelihood. The environmental cost of over allocation is huge and we have the science to show this. And there are other costs – to families and famers like us.

If the plan to manage the Murray Darling is released without proper scientific review we won’t know if what is done will be enough to restore the rivers to health. What if the plan gets it wrong? In only a matter of weeks the Murray Darling Basin will release the plan, farmers like me need your support in petitioning the Water Minister Tony Burke to make sure he acts now before the plan is released to insist that it is scientifically based and independently scientifically reviewed. Please add your voice to GetUp’s campaign:

The health and well being of floodplain graziers as well as that of the riverine environment, towns and communities are being compromised by inappropriate diversion and over extraction of water from our inland rivers. With your help I’m sure we can set a lasting precedent for how we can look after the land, the rivers, wildlife and rural Australian communities.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Etheridge and family,
Kalyanka Station
Murray Darling Basin

PS – In just a few weeks time the Murray Darling Basing Authority will release the draft plan on how the Basin will be managed into the future.

Last night in Senate Estimates hearings it was confirmed that in response to backlash from heavy irrigators, the Basin Authority are about to massively reduce the amount of water that would be released back into the Basin. The Authority say this is based on ‘new science’ but have refused to allow independent scientific review. As a result, key scientists have left the Basin Authority in protest. Let’s add our voices to those scientists, and local graziers like Mark, in calling for independent review of this important plan:

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