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In good company: Regional councils form new enterprise to tackle water security

30 April 2021

Southern Downs Regional Council’s commitment to working strategically with surrounding local governments to shore-up broader regional water security has taken a positive step forward with the decision at Council’s Ordinary Meeting on 28 April 2021 to join five other councils to form an official company.

After establishing the Southern Queensland Inland & NSW Border Regional Water Alliance comprising of Southern Downs, Goondiwindi, Toowoomba, Western Downs, Tenterfield and Lockyer Valley Regional Councils in 2020, the group decided that forming a company limited by guarantee was a beneficial and constructive platform to progress future water security and achieve tangible infrastructure outcomes.

As a Director of the new Southern Queensland Inland & NSW Border Regional Water Alliance Limited, Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi said the move would advance the mutual vision of water security across the broader region and allow the alliance to access grants and funding.

“The alliance has a visionary, long-term approach to achieving positive water outcomes, and as a company, we will now be in a position to manage funds and apply for funding when opportunities arise,” Mayor Pennisi said.

“Following the Queensland Government’s recent announcement of a $20m drought resilience package, one of the alliance’s top and most pressing priorities in the short term is to meet with the Minister for Water, Glenn Butcher to discuss the best way to use the allocated funding of $3m for the Southern and Darling Downs Water Assessment to ensure there is no duplication and that the funding goes the full distance.”

The in-depth water assessment will look at the financial, economic and social viability of a range of options in the region.

Southern Downs Councillor Cynthia McDonald was also fully supportive of the alliance’s new direction and said that it was a positive step towards addressing future water security problems in the region.

“This is a very, very positive step for all the councils involved, working together in collaboration to look at a problem that has been obviously plaguing us for the last five years, if not longer in some regions,” Councillor McDonald said.

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