"These buybacks will destroy us."
That's the message that hung over Griffith's Memorial Park on Tuesday as close to 1000 concerned residents came out to protest the Labor government's water buybacks bill.
Adding to it, local businesses and industries deployed as many as 60 tractors and several trucks along Banna Avenue to help drive the message.
Speakers from a variety of backgrounds and organisations delivered a show of unity to protest legislation that would rewrite the Murray Darling Basin Plan bill - set to be soon voted on in the Senate.
Griffith City Mayor Doug Curran began proceedings, thanking farmers and businesses for taking the time away from their work to be part of a push to protect the MIA and its livelihood.
"Decisions are being made by politicians who haven't even bothered to face our community and we want to appeal to all senators to think about us and our future," Cr Curran said.
"The fallacy that we are facing is that they will only buy from willing sellers - but who are willing sellers? Farmers nearing retirement? Farmers under financial strain? Are they willing or is this government simply being opportunistic?"
"We can not be dismissed, or sacrificed. We need to be listened to."
Murray MP Helen Dalton said the MIA will lose its way of life if the bill passes the senate.
"It's that simple and that serious," Mrs Dalton said. "These buybacks will destroy us.
"Tanya Plibersek and the Federal government know this, but winning over Greens voters in Sydney seems a lot more important to them than caring for those in rural NSW."
Mrs Dalton called on Water Minister Rose Jackson and the Premier Chris Minns to make a stand to protect communities.
"Rose Jackson hasn't stood up to protect us yet - but she still can," Mrs Dalton said.
"It's not too late for her to do the right thing. But if she doesn't, Premier Minns needs to take charge and say no."
While unable to attend rallies held simultaneously in Griffith, Leeton and Deniliquin, Member for Farrer Sussan Ley had her sentiments relayed in a speech, read by Cr Curran.
"If you're not at the table, you're part of the menu... and Tanya Plibersek has had us on the menu for a long time," Ms Ley's speech read.
"We are not going to take a backward step and we are not going to be ignored. Because irrigation feeds the nation and it feeds the world.
"I know this country is backing us all. I know that even though this Labor government doesn't care about us, ordinary Australians do.
"They want us to succeed, they want us to prosper, and they want the fresh food and fibre that we produce."
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