IT’S lashed local businesses, lacerated the housing market and stripped billions of litres of productive water out of the community.
The Murray Darling Basin Plan has hung like a dark pall over the residents of Griffith for more than seven years. They’ve fought it at every turn.
Successive public rallies in the city have captured national headlines and changed the trajectory of the debate. But still, just as they were when this wretched plan was hurled at them in 2008, residents are peering into an economic abyss. The prospect of Griffith’s most liquid asset – water – being slowly drained out of the community has created rampant uncertainty.
The latest economic data is bleak – close to 100 vacant shops in the CBD, a new housing market on life support and a stagnant population growth rate. Residents are feeling fatigued, cheated and sold out by successive federal governments, which have put environmental fundamentalism before people.
The damage to Griffith and other irrigation communities cannot be undone. Their water has been sold down the river – literally – and will never return. But the federal government can restore some faith and economic viability by slapping an immediate freeze on buybacks.
Any future water savings should come from infrastructure upgrades rather than buying back irrigation entitlements.
This undignified death by a thousand cuts to one of our proudest Riverina communities must end.
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