GRIFFITH businesses will be asked to close their doors next Wednesday for a massive water rally in the main street.
It will be the third time the people of the MIA have come together in a show of strength, unity and community pride against the federal government’s Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
The first rally in 2010 put Griffith in the history books and had a major role in shaping the basin debate, leading to the resignation of one of the biggest players in the process and a complete re-write of the preliminary plan.
NSW primary industries minister Katrina Hodgkinson has confirmed she will attend the June 27 rally, just two days before she is due to meet with federal water minister Tony Burke to recommend final changes to the draft basin plan.
The rally will be held in Memorial Park between 11.30am and 12.30pm and the Murrumbidgee Valley Stakeholder Group (MVSG) is urging businesses to close for the full hour.
It is anticipated Banna Avenue will be blocked off to allow the thousands expected at the rally to spill into the street.
MVSG chairman and Griffith mayor Mike Neville said locals had the potential to make a difference to the basin plan and stop water being taken from irrigation communities.
“This will be one last, friendly reminder to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, the federal government and all politicians that this issue is significant to regional communities throughout the basin and we won’t just stand here and take it,” Cr Neville said.
“Griffith is seen by many as the place that has galvanised national interest in relation to the basin plan and we’d like to remind them that from little things, big things grow.”
Ms Hodgkinson is expected to give locals an assurance the state government will stick by irrigation communities and refuse to support an unbalanced plan for the basin’s future.
In the state government’s submission to the draft basin plan in April, it called for balance between social, economic and environmental factors and for investment in irrigation infrastructure to replace buyback of irrigators’ water entitlements.
“As a community, we will not accept this plan in its current format and we need to know the
state government is behind us on that,” Cr Neville said.
The MVSG will finalise the remaining details of the rally later this week