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Queensland councils call for more support as "creeping disaster" spreads
The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) is calling on all State and Federal Government leaders to unite as eight new shires and councils are drought declared in the south east corner.
More than two-thirds of Queensland’s land area is now drought declared, affecting almost three million people.
LGAQ Chief Executive, Greg Hallam, has today written to the Prime Minister and Queensland Premier urging them to drive a unified approach to water security.
“Queensland towns like Stanthorpe, Clifton, Bell, Canungra and Dayboro are now relying on water carting to provide what we in the city take for granted,” Mr Hallam said.
“The Federal Government’s move to provide drought funding for non-farm businesses and extra funding for councils in drought-affected regions was a huge win for Queensland communities. Similarly, the State Government’s funding for upgraded water infrastructure in towns like Stanthorpe is welcome.
“What is missing, however, is a strategy for rural towns water supply, agreed to and supported by all three tiers of government. This should be the highest priority for COAG (the Council of Australian Governments) and needs to occur in a spirit of collaboration, innovation and without blame – and it needs to occur urgently.”
There are now 41 councils and four part-council areas drought declared, and 16 Individually Droughted Properties (IDPs) in a further five Local Government Areas, representing 67.4 percent of the land area of Queensland.
“It’s time politicians put aside their differences and stood shoulder to shoulder with Queensland councils who are at the frontline of this creeping disaster. The greatest gift we can give the hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders this Christmas is that someone is listening and delivering real solutions to water security, a basic human need,” Mr Hallam said.
LGAQ has spent the past week documenting the devasting effects of the drought on the people living with it every day on the land and in struggling towns. The confronting four-part video series based in the Southern Downs and Burnett regions can be viewed below.
“Ageing water and sewerage infrastructure in Queensland is a looming and urgent issue. A water pipe busts every 80 minutes in rural towns due to the age of the reticulation network. The Federal Government holds the key to the coffers: 80 percent of our nation’s taxes,” Mr Hallam said.
Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006
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