Council puts big issues on the table during visit with Queensland Government
Drought, water security, infrastructure and agriculture were
on the table last week when Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie met with Queensland
Government Ministers to highlight the big issues impacting the region.
Cr Dobie and Southern Downs Regional Council CEO David
Keenan travelled to Queensland Parliament in Brisbane to meet with the Minister
for Agricultural Industry Development
and Fisheries, Mark Furner, the Minister for Natural Resources Mines and
Energy, Dr Anthony Lynham, and Minister for Local Government, Racing and
Multicultural Affairs, Stirling Hinchliffe.
Mayor Tracy Dobie
said the impacts of drought; key infrastructure and the region’s short and
long-term water security were at the forefront of all three meetings.
these discussions with the Ministers to continue to advocate for the Southern
Downs at a State Government level and to ensure the issues significantly
impacting our region remain on the table,” Cr Dobie said.
“We spent a good amount of time with each of the three Ministers
on what was a parliamentary sitting day and discussions were very productive.
“The key takeaway from those discussions was that the
Southern Downs is a progressive region and is really kicking goals in regards
to current and future development.
“As a local government and as a region, we are doing very
well in successfully turning Council around financially. We are now well and truly
sustainable and continue to address short and long term solutions for the
region, for the economy, major projects and infrastructure.”
The region’s water security was at the centre of the Mayor’s
discussions with the Minister for Natural Resources Mines and Energy Anthony
Lynham, while the impacts of climate change and drought were the key talking
points with the Minister for Agriculture Industry Development and Fisheries,
“I discussed drought and water at length with Mr Lynham in
regards to our impending urban water shortages and the need for State
Government support,” Cr Dobie said.
“In particular, we focused on the way this drought has
increased demand for urban water from the rural sector; the pressure placed on agricultural
water allocations and entitlements, and Council’s in-principle support for Emu
Swamp Dam as an irrigation project.
“The discussions with Mr Furner were around the Emergency
Water Infrastructure Rebate and its extension to include fruit trees and
grapevines as well as implementing changes to use recycled water extensively in
the agricultural sector.
“We raised a number of other issues regarding the drought
and the way it is now impacting all sectors in our region but especially agricultural.”
Cr Dobie and Mr Keenan then met with Stirling Hinchliffe,
Minister for Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs, to discuss local
government reforms and the recent Council decision on the de-amalgamation proposal
put forward by the Granite Belt Community Association.
“These are the big issues for our whole region at the moment
and as a Council we are putting forward what matters most to our communities
and residents across the Southern Downs,” the Mayor said.
“We will continue to communicate with the Ministers and make
our case for continuing State Government support on those issues which require
a working partnership.”