September 9, 2020
Nanango businesswoman Jane Erkens has ramped up the campaign against South Burnett Regional Council’s recent hike in standpipe charges by releasing a protest video.
The decision, which was opposed by Cr Kathy Duff but supported by all other Councillors, increased the price of standpipe water from $4 to $10 per kilolitre – a price roughly double to triple the charge imposed by most neighbouring councils.
At a public meeting in late June called soon after the price rise was passed, South Burnett Mayor Brett Otto said he thought the decision was a mistake and wanted to see it reviewed.
However, he warned he only had one vote and if the majority of councillors were opposed to any change his hands were tied.
The price increase was introduced on July 1 and prompted an immediate call by Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington for Council to reconsider the decision, particularly in light of the drought across the region.
In August, Mrs Erkens and other protesters gathered more than 500 signatures on a petition calling on the Council to reconsider the matter.
That petition was presented to the Council’s meeting last month, where Mrs Erkens spoke about the distress the increase was causing to “our region’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people”.
The protest video was put together by Mrs Erkens and a group of 10 supporters over the weekend.
Jane said the group recorded the song in one take around a campfire at Blackbutt.
Its catchy hook – “You’ve put up the water much more than you oughtta” – has seen it rapidly distributed on social media.
“Heed our position and read our petition …”
Jane said the feedback she had since the video’s release had been “enormously positive”, with one professional musician comparing its style to American folk legend Woody Guthrie’s protest songs in the 1930s and 1940s.