Communities throughout the Murray-Darling Basin will have the chance to hear from some passionate Dubbo ambassadors when the Healthy Rivers Roadshow kicks off next month.
Starting at Dubbo’s Garden Hotel on Monday, September 4, the roadshow will host public meetings in 14 communities across the basin in NSW, Victoria and South Australia, finishing up in Adelaide on September 22.
The meetings will provide the chance for community members to hear from river management experts, bird lovers, fish ecologists, traditional owners, fruit growers, irrigators, graziers, artists and adventurers.
Dubbo Healthy River ambassador Melissa Gray said it was hoped the meetings would help unite people and communities across the Murray Darling Basin, as the government considers the recommendations of a recent northern basin review.
“The roadshow is going all the way down the Darling … through Victoria and the Koorong down to Adelaide and then it will cumulate in us all getting some buses and doing a convoy to Canberra for Water Week to deliver a petition and lobby Malcolm Turnbull,” Ms Gray said.
“It’s a perfect opportunity to learn about the fast-moving [situation] … the politics around water has changed so quickly and we’ve really got to be aware of what’s going on and educate ourselves.”
It was also hoped the meetings would provide a forum for people to express their concerns about river health, following media reports about alleged corrupt behaviour and water theft by a small number of “rogue irrigators” within the catchment, she said.
“In this world, there are more fights over water coming as it gets more precious globally so it’s under threat, the health of the rivers is under threat and it’s vital for the community to be aware how under threat it is,” Ms Gray said.
“Our river is our lifeblood. If it wasn’t for our river, Dubbo wouldn’t be here.”
The Healthy Rivers Roadshow is a collective effort of the Lifeblood Alliance, including the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations, Inland Rivers Network, Australian Floodplain Association, Australian Conservation Foundation and Birdlife Australia.