HIGH HOPES: Mayor Keith Campbell says the water study is an integral part of the region's future. Picture: Jessica McGrath
HIGH HOPES: Mayor Keith Campbell says the water study is an integral part of the region's future. Picture: Jessica McGrath

‘Best opportunity in years’: Council backs water study

MAYOR Keith Campbell said the water feasibility study being undertaken in the region was a “catalyst” for generations to come.

At South Burnett Regional Council’s February meeting, Cr Campbell said the council hoped the study would pave the way for securing water as well as developing the region’s economic landscape.

“As important as it is to have water for our urban regions, it is increasingly important that we have a big influx of growth business-wise,” Cr Campbell said.

“We, as a council, have recognised the growth opportunities in agriculture and the need for water.

“It will bring a whole new breed of cropping types and maybe even a few farmers.

“New business opportunities will bounce off the other and bring about new population, grow the economic ­development and urban growth.”

Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff was in favour of Cr Campbell’s comments, saying despite the influx of rain the study needed to ­continue regardless of the dam levels.

“A rise in Bjelke-Petersen Dam levels from 5–20 per cent is an awesome thing to witness,” Cr Duff said.

“We were very concerned about water and how to move forward in keeping water up to the towns.

“Now we need to highlight the water study that is going on and water security in the future. We have to get the water study right.

“We need to get experts involved to try and get that study down pat so we can lobby the State and Federal Governments into the future on what we need to secure water moving forward for towns and farmers.”

An aerial view of Bjelke-Petersen Dam in the South Burnett. Photo: Heath Pukallus
An aerial view of Bjelke-Petersen Dam in the South Burnett. Photo: Heath Pukallus

Cr Roz Frohloff also commended the thorough work completed so far by the water study at the recent council meeting.

“This inflow we have had in dams has given us ­approximately 18 months to two years’ worth of water, which is fantastic,” Cr Frohloff said.

“I totally agree with Kathy about the water feasibility study though.

“It seems to be – and it’s been happening for years – that as soon as rain comes, it gets pushed under the carpet but we need to keep it on top and keep pushing it.

“This drought will break and good rains will come and we will be right again but we need to keep moving forward with this study.”

During the meeting Cr Campbell said under his eye it wouldn’t become lost in the system.

“It will not be a report that sits on the shelf gathering dust,” he said.

“Recently we held a public information and registration night at Kingaroy, which drew a lot of interest.

“For the next stage of the study we will be holding consultations in the region.

“I encourage as many ­agriculturists and urban people who have any interest in the water levels to come along.

“It’s the best opportunity we have had in years. The consultants have told us they have done more than 50 studies.

“I am very impressed with the consultants the government has chosen for us. They have done very thorough work and will produce a long list of recommendations of those ideas that are successful from the meetings to be run next month.”

Community consultation meetings will take place on the following days:

  • Murgon: 10am – noon, Monday, March 16, at Murgon RSL
  • Blackbutt: 10am – noon, Tuesday, March 17, at Blackbutt Town Hall.
  • Kingaroy: 10am – noon, Wednesday, March 18, at Kingaroy Town Hall