News

Farmers meet the governor

By Southern Riverina News

Blighty’s Hannah Campbell has explained issues of concern in the region to New South Wales Governor Margaret Beazley.

In one of her first engagements the new Governor, who was only sworn in on May 2, attended a function at the Atura Hotel in Albury just four days later, where she spoke with local women about their interests and community.

Hannah, the daughter of Blighty’s Neil Campbell, received the invitation through a connection with her good friend Stephanie Clancy, of Pleasant Hills, who was crowned 2019 The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl.

‘‘Stephanie met the Governor’s secretary when they were seated together during a showgirl dinner in Sydney and it snowballed from there,’’ Hannah said.

‘‘They spoke about Women in Agriculture, which is one of Stephanie’s passions, and discovered the Governor has similar passion for any women stepping out in any industry.

‘‘Meeting the Governor was a wonderful opportunity, and so was being part of an event attended by so many inspiring women. I am very grateful.’’

Hannah, who now works in Gippsland for stock feed company Castlegate James, did not miss the chance to highlight issues impacting on the Southern Riverina region she loves so much.

‘‘I highlighted to the Governor the changes I have seen. It has only really hit home in the last few months that telling people that ‘dad still doesn’t have any water allocation’ wasn’t enough and I had to start highlighting why he doesn’t have water.

‘‘In the past the Murray Valley and Riverina were held in high esteem, and were chosen as the regions to help drought-proof the nation and create jobs. Everyone was so proud of the Snowy Hydro scheme and this amazing engineering feat.

‘‘Now, 70 years on, all our government seems to care about are environmental flows. We know these are extremely important, but so is food and fibre production.

‘‘The MDBA hasn’t reached a happy medium between allocations for the production and the environment. Also, the environmental benefit of productive water has been lost.’’

Hannah pointed out to the Governor that irrigation systems have become delivery channels to send water to South Australia, despite the environmental consequences in our region.

She also emphasised that we are experiencing a man-made drought — a term that neither the Governor nor her husband had heard before — and that while we have experienced below average rainfall, it’s the water that was readily available in the dams which is causing dramatic financial losses and large numbers of farmers exiting the industry.

‘‘I think the Governor took away two main points. Firstly, that water and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is our biggest concern, and secondly that telecommunications is also a huge issue in rural New South Wales,’’ Hannah said.