The second Darling/Baaka River convoy in early May attracted people from Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, Sydney, Echuca, the Victorian Mallee and the Central and Mid North Coast of NSW. Local Darling/Baaka supporters from Broken Hill, Menindee, Pooncarie and Wentworth shared the adventure.
The action was designed to inform the public about what is being done to rivers, lakes, wetlands and marshes through unsustainable water-sharing plans and ungoverned water trading practices.
As recent high-water flows and mud-laden banks created problems in accessing the river in Menindee, the convoy travelled south by road and put the boats into the Darling/Baaka River at Pooncarie. It travelled 240 kilometres to Wentworth, where the Darling/Baaka River flows into the Murray River.
We were met by First Nations leaders, and the NSW Water Police escorted the final leg into Wentworth.
Participants are optimistic that the federal government will implement its election promise and create a federal ICAC or anti-corruption commission to investigate suspect deals in water and irrigation licensing affecting ecosystems’ biodiversity, wetlands and the people of the Darling/Baaka River.
It is hoped those who have plundered and spoiled one of the country’s most important river catchments can be reckoned with and a sustainable, sensitive and fair water management program will happen under the new federal water minister.
Many in Western NSW want a federal royal commission to look into how the Murray Darling Basin Plan has been implemented, as well as the impact of water trading on smaller towns and communities.
There are plans for future river convoys travelling from Bourke, Louth or Tilpa to Menindee, if the water is flowing.
[Visit www.darlingbaakaconvoy.com for more information.]