Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Funding Drought Ignored and Forgotten; $17M of Water Funding Given to Shark Control: MP

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Funding Drought Ignored and Forgotten; $17M of Water Funding Given to Shark Control: MP

Article excerpt

Byline: Bianca Hrovat bianca.hrovat@warwickdailynews.com.au

THE flow of funds to parched regional communities is dryng up as the Queensland Government redirects millions to urban centres.

Southern Downs farming families are facing critical water shortages along with 65 per cent of the state with no additional budget funding allocated within the 2019-2020 state budget.

Federal Member for Maranoa and Minister for Water Resources and Drought David Littleproud said it was clear water security in the Southern Downs wasn't a state priority.

"Most of the money they use to pay for infrastructure comes from west of the Great Dividing Range," he said.

"But bugger all of that money is coming back here.

"It's very disappointing."

Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said it was annoying the State Government seemed to have forgotten where their food came from.

"If the country has an expectation for that food production to continue, they need to invest in the food and water infrastructure to support it," she said.

"They seem to build more infrastructure where the larger population is, rather than bringing it to regional Queensland."

After securing tens of millions in federal and farmer funding for the proposed Emu Swamp Dam, Mr Littleproud was frustrated by the State Government's silence on the project which has lain unactioned for more than 38 years.

"They only need to provide the final $13 million but they won't even give us approval," Mr Littleproud said.

"They're on the go-slow: .They just don't care what's happening out here."

Cr Dobie said she was disappointed nothing specific was announced to address the region's water security but she held out hope for funding in the future.

"We might still get funding in the coming year," she said.

"We've been in discussions with the State Government about providing support as drought continues to bite the region.

"The State Government is waiting for further information from the Granite Belt Irrigation Project before approving the next stage of the dam and they won't put that forward until they're satisfied that gap has been filled. …

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