A woman is using the popularity of Woolworths’ Lion King Ooshie campaign to raise awareness of the Murray-Darling Basin water crisis.
Woolworths launched its Lion King Ooshies promotion in July, offering customers a character to collect with every $30 spent.
The latest promotion has sent shoppers into a frenzy to get their hands on the rarest collectables, with some even trying to sell them for thousands of dollars online.
But one woman’s “genius” idea to cash in on the collectables in a different way is being applauded.
Victorian farmer Melisa Katte has posted a picture of one of the rarest Ooshies on a buy, swap and sell Facebook page, but she does not want cash.
Instead she is asking to trade it for irrigation water for her dry farm and to raise awareness over issues surrounding the Murray-Darling Basin.
The government has been criticised for allegedly mismanaging the system, with water shared between states.
Irrigation farmers also have to pay for temporary water allocations, part of a plan that was implemented in 2012.
Water from the Murray-Darling Basin can be bought and sold depending on a farmer’s individual needs.
Prices however have increased as the drought has impacted the supply.
The devastating drought across Australia's east has reached uncharted territory, with the weather bureau officially declaring it the Murray-Darling Basin's worst dry spell.
Farmer’s desperate plea
Ms Katte said she had got her hands on the very first furry Simba Ooshie, which she was hoping to trade.
“I don’t want money for it. 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,” she wrote on the Facebook page.
One shared the post and said it was “absolute genius”.
“Melisa has turned a silly bit of plastic into national media coverage of the crisis of water prices and water availability,” he said.
“Well played Melisa, well played! And thank you for forging the potential cash you could have gotten, and prioritising the bigger picture instead.”
Ms Katte – who is hoping to raise the awareness alongside fellow farmer Steven Black – said farms were shutting down every day and thousands of cows and fish were dying.
Many commented on her post wishing her luck.
“Maybe a silly little furry bit of silicon will make an actual difference to you,” one said.
Mr Black said the temporary trade of water allocations cost about $600 to $650.
“That figure is double what I can pay as a maximum to produce anything at a profit,” he told SBS.
“We’re worried about ourselves and how we go forward ... and survive.”
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