Finley received its only visit from a major federal political leader on Friday, when Pauline Hanson made a point of assessing business conditions in Murray St.
The One Nation leader spoke with locals and business owners to learn more about local issues, and to introduce them to her party’s NSW Senate candidate Kate McCulloch.
Senator Hanson said her visit helped her gain a better understanding of the impact of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan on Finley.
She even made a few purchases to ‘‘help the community’’.
‘‘Finley was good to go to; there was a good response from people but we couldn’t stay there too long,’’ Ms Hanson said.
‘‘It’s towns like Finley that are feeling the impact. If you destroy the farming sector — and this area is a major farming sector — then it impacts on the town and jobs; it’s more important to me.
‘‘A person’s choice in this country is their way of life, and if you want to live on the land — it doesn’t matter if your making a million dollars a week or making next to nothing — it’s important we give those people an opportunity to have a special way of life.’’
Ms Hanson was also in Deniliquin on Friday to meet with a small group of landholders and community leaders, which included private landholders and representatives from Speak Up Campaign, Murray Valley Private Diverters, Denimein Landholders Association and Deniboota Landholders Association.
Ms Hanson said she understood, based on the information shared with her in Finley and Deniliquin, why local communities are angry.
‘‘Many are being forced off their properties and will be shutting down. It’s a grave concern and something I need to keep following through and speaking up on in Parliament,’’ she said.
‘‘Another thing I was told by a farmer is that 30 per cent of the water goes to the Murray Darling Basin Plan, and the other 60 per cent is actually flowing to the rivers and creeks and you have to take irrigation use out of it, so it only comes down to seven per cent.
‘‘Farmers are fighting for that seven per cent for their livelihoods.
‘‘Another thing I’m angry about is why do we have so much foreign ownership of our water here in Australia, up to the tune of about 20 per cent?
‘‘I also want to know why people own water rights in New South Wales, when they have no connection with the land or use of that water.’’
Ms Hanson also took aim at foreign ownership of water and domestic water holders who have ‘‘no interest in agriculture.’’
She said the water issues farmers are facing are ‘‘huge’’ on her priority list for when she returns to parliament.
‘‘I have a great team who know about this issue and are prepared to keep fighting for it.
‘‘It (water policy) has become political. I think it’s bad management, they took it out of the hands of the state and the federal.
‘‘It’s now a political football and until we have a full investigation of the MBDA and it’s workings, how it’s been managed, who is controlling it and can find some answers.’’