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Simba Ooshie sale lands couple with lion’s share of abuse

By Sophie Baldwin

What does a Woolworths' Lion King Ooshie and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan have in common?

Not much is the short answer.

The long answer is a little more complicated.

When Katandra West's Melissa Portingale posted a rare number one Simba Ooshie for sale in exchange for irrigation water on the Facebook page Buy, Swap and Sell, she and her partner Stephen Black, were unprepared for the storm to follow.

The Simba Oosie is one of 24 Woolworths has released as part of its latest promotion and the post has gone viral.

The couple has been inundated with calls from media outlets including A Current Affair.

In her post Ms Portingale said she didn't want money for the Ooshie. 

"I'm wanting to trade it for irrigation water to use on our dying farm due to the mismanagement from our government of the Murray-Darling Basin," the post said.

Mr Black is astounded a piece of plastic could generate so much interest.

"We have both been blown away with the whirlwind but at the end of the day it has become an opportunity to get our message out there - the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is flawed and must be paused," Mr Black said.

Mr Black is a hay grower and contractor at Katandra West.

Since the implementation of the plan in 2012, he has watched his customer list shrink in line with the demise of the dairy industry.

He has spent the past couple of months worrying about the season ahead, as prices for temporary water sit above $600 a megalitre.

"I have thought about nothing other than water and about how to get through the season for the past two months," Mr Black said.

Ms Portingale thought selling the Ooshie, which she picked up at Yarrawonga Woolworths last week, could generate some much-needed cash.

Katandra West's Melissa Portingale posted a rare number one Simba Ooshie for sale in exchange for irrigation water on the Facebook page Buy, Swap and Sell.

Customers who spend $30 at Woolworths have the choice to take home a character from The Lion King.

After getting the rare collectible, she posted it for sale on eBay where it attracted a bid of $9500.

She contacted the bidder who turned out to be bogus and said, 'you stupid farmer b**ch did you really think someone would pay that sort of money?'.

A change of track saw her post the Ooshie on Buy Swap and Sell where she again received death threats and criticism. 

It wasn't until she changed her post asking for water instead of money that it took off.

Ms Portingale is still receiving negative comments, but the couple has decided to use the exposure as a platform to highlight the plight of the region and the ''flawed'' M-DBP.

And for the Ooshie?

They have withdrawn it from sale - it might just find its way into the recycling bin.