WATER: Bob Brown with cane farmer Wayne Borellini to his left in front of the Defend our Water sign.
WATER: Bob Brown with cane farmer Wayne Borellini to his left in front of the Defend our Water sign. Contributed

DEFEND OUR WATER: Farmer's stand for justice

CRUISING up the Bruce Highway through Proserpine, you may have glimpsed a big sign with blue writing.

The signs reads, "Not one drop 4 Adani, defend our water", and at 7x3 metres, it dwarfs most people standing next to it.

The seemingly innocuous sign has caused quite a stir in the community, and Proserpine cane farmer and builder Wayne Borellini is astounded at destructive actions towards the sign.

It was first erected on the families cane farm on March 15, in support of the students participating in the national school strikes.

Mr Borellini, a father of four is the kind of parent that would back his children into the hill, and he said it was his eldest child, daughter Nichola who made the sign, and who wanted it to be displayed.

In choosing to back his daughter, he's gone against the grain in the community.

"It's either back Nichola, or back Adani - it's for your kids," he said.

Mr Borellini said he received a letter from council, instructing that the sign didn't comply with local by laws.

The sign needed to be taken down, or he risked a hefty fine.

He obliged, but the sign was back up again in support of the Adani Convoy that rolled into town on April 26.

The simple sign has since been slashed three times, but it takes more than a few slashes to get Mr Borellini down.

The doting father was driving his youngest child Riley 15, to Mackay for a soccer game, when she pointed out the damage for the first time.

 

SLASHED: Nichola Borellini's 'Defend our Water' sign was damaged on three occasions, and (inset) Bob Brown with cane farmer Wayne Borellini to his left in front of the Defend our Water sign.
SLASHED: Nichola Borellini's 'Defend our Water' sign was damaged on three occasions, and (inset) Bob Brown with cane farmer Wayne Borellini to his left in front of the Defend our Water sign. Contributed

"I stitched it all back together, I thought 'stuff them, they're not going to beat me'," he told the Whitsunday Coast Guardian.

It was the second time the sign was slashed that prompted drastic measures.

Mr Borellini said he was "having a kip on the lounge", about a week after the first incident when he said he realised vandals had gone for a round two at 11.30pm.

He went out in the dark at midnight to stitch it back up, again.

Refusing to back down the feisty farmer decided he was going to camp near the sign, to do his daughter's wishes justice. "The mozzies ate me alive," she said.

At 3am, Mr Borellini was woken by vandals who had come back for a third round with the defenceless sign.

"The first thing they attacked was The Greens campaign sign - they kicked the sh*t out that and smashed it," he said.

Mr Borellini said he ran around from behind the water sign to confront them.

"They just jumped in their car and took off! 'Gutless bastards', I yelled out after them."

When the lifespan of the proposed Adani Michael coalmine is put into perspective, and the evidence of the IPCC report is bought to the table, Mr Borellini said he supported his daughter in not wanting the mine to go ahead.

"Something is going on with the climate - there's gotta be," he said.

"It's not for me, it's for the kids. What are you going to leave behind? A lot of people don't think like that, they're living for now.

"Everyone has got a different opinion, and that's fine but this stuff is just crazy."

A Whitsunday Regional Council spokesperson said a council officer had been liaising with Mr Borellini, and that local laws stated the sign was non-compliant, as it was oversized.

If the sign was smaller than 3.8m x 1m then no approval from council is needed.

"The sign may also be too close to the road centreline and also require assessment according to DTMR advertising manual," the spokesperson said.

Mr Borellini had complied with the compliance notice, the spokesperson said.



What’s on: 72 hours across the region  48 hours across the region 48 hours across the region

premium_icon What’s on: 72 hours across the region 48 hours across the...

Discover the hottest entertainment across the region this weekend.

Still no answers as to why Daniel Lewis was killed by police

premium_icon Still no answers as to why Daniel Lewis was killed by police

Daniel Lewis police shooting remains a mystery.

Single vehicle crash sparks calls for a ‘fair share’

premium_icon Single vehicle crash sparks calls for a ‘fair share’

Residents of a small CQ community are calling out for safe roads after another roll...