This speech was delivered last week by Finley High School principal Bernie Roebuck at the Murray-Darling Basin Plan consultations in Deniliquin. It received a standing ovation from the 3000 people present -- including federal water minister Tony Burke and Murray-Darling Basin Authority head Craig Knowles. Burke later commented: "Everything at these meetings obviously stays with me but I don’t think there’s been a presentation that I’ve been to probably in my life that will stay with me like Bernie's."

My name is Bernie Roebuck and I am currently the principal at Finley High School. Previously I was principal at Deniliquin High School and for a two-year period worked as a principal consultant across all schools in the Riverina.