May 31, 2021
South Burnett mayor Brett Otto says he is “desperate” for a permanent water solution for Kingaroy, claiming Council could “end up trucking water”.
“We are facing a crisis with water and Council needs help to progress solutions before our residents and our agricultural economy suffer greatly,” Mayor Otto said in a media statement on Monday morning.
In October last year, Mayor Otto said Kingaroy’s water supply was tipped to fail once every 13 years at current demand levels – but this could become once every four years if Swickers expanded.
Mayor Otto said he had raised the issue of water security with Members of Parliament again last week, including local MP Deb Frecklington, who is Shadow Minister for Water, and Water Minister Glenn Butcher.
Mayor Otto said he was calling on the State Government to help make a case for Federal funding.
“Obviously, Deb Frecklington’s hands are tied in Opposition but it is very important for this area. I am looking forward to working with the Member for Nanango, State and Commonwealth governments to ensure we have permanent, long-term solutions,” Mayor Otto said.
Mayor Otto said he was buoyed by the good reception he received from Minister Butcher and his Director-General.
“Minister Butcher has a good understanding of the issue and I am confident he will help us navigate solutions to avoid a crisis,” the Mayor said.
“We all need to get on the same page with this issue or we will end up trucking water and that is not sustainable for us or for the Queensland taxpayer.”
Mayor Otto referred to the recent Burnett Water Feasibility Study, prepared by consultants Jacobs and funded by the Federal Government ahead of the last Federal election, which has put forward several potential ideas for the future of water in the region.
Mayor Otto said these costings must be negotiated with the Federal Government.
“Our community needs water and we have been burdened by previous governments with an asset that no longer meets our requirements,” he said.
Mayor Otto said he would be travelling to Canberra next month to seek meetings with politicians, including Federal Water Minister Keith Pitt, the Member for Hinkler.
“We need to ensure our agricultural industries have water security, and most importantly our community has drinking water,” Mayor Otto said.