Member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington has called on the Federal and State Government to activate Disaster Recovery Funding Assistance for residents of Cooyar affected by the recent bushfires.
Deb has written to both the Federal Minister for Emergency Management, and the Deputy Premier to highlight the urgent situation and I have also raised the issue in Parliament.
“I am asking for the Cooyar area affected by the bushfires to be Disaster Activated so those landholders affected can receive some support,” Deb said.
“The bushfires have destroyed approximately 2000 acres across many rural properties.
“Landowners have lost fences, cattle yards, sheds, tanks, timber, equipment, communication infrastructure and of course, whatever feed was still available for livestock in the paddock.
“I spoke with Rural Firie, Wayne Schefe not long after the event and he said that gusts of wind up to 73km/hr took the fire very quickly.
“It was only through the rural firies skill and determination that it was stopped before entering dense bushland, and before it could get to several homes.
“The Cooyar community need and deserve support and a disaster activation is one way to acknowledge and provide assistance for property owners who have lost so much.
Member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington and Member for Lockyer, Jim McDonald are calling on the Labor Government to confirm whether $20million in funding for the Brisbane Valley Highway through the SEQ City Deal is on the chopping block.
Deb said there are real doubts about the funding after the Brisbane Valley Highway upgrades were found on a list for ‘review’ by Federal Government.
“Right now, there are 90 projects across Queensland, with a total value of $14 billion being reviewed by the Federal Government and we are still waiting to hear the outcome.
“$20million in upgrades for Brisbane Valley Highway, promised by the Federal Government, is on that list.
“The review was supposed to take 90 days, but 150 days later, it has still not been revealed which projects will go ahead, and which projects will be cut.
“We’ve heard crickets from Labor. We know they provided this list to the Federal Government months ago and they must reveal what they know and whether they are going to fight for this critical infrastructure for Queensland,” Deb said.
Member for Lockyer, Jim McDonald said it was unacceptable that the Palaszczuk Labor Government were not being upfront with Queenslanders.
“If the Premier won’t back these crucial projects, the LNP Opposition will. We have written to the Federal Infrastructure Minister, Catherine King, calling on the Federal Government to back Queensland projects.
“In our patch, the funding promised through the SEQ City Deal for the Brisbane Valley Highway is desperately needed and must go ahead,” Jim said.
Photo: Flashback to 2019 – Member for Lockyer, Jim McDonald, Mayor Graeme Lehmann and Member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington – they continue to fight for funding for the Brisbane Valley Highway.
Member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington is supporting a petition to reduce the speed limit through the township of Wooroolin to 50km/hour.
Deb said she was approached by local community member, Peter Wingfield, who shared his concerns with her about the dangers faced by school children and pedestrians in Wooroolin.
“I caught up with Peter at the Wooroolin Markets and he raised his major concerns about the safety of school children who must cross the busy Bunya Highway each day to catch the school bus,” Deb said.
“The kids must cross at the busiest time of the day to wait at the bus stop, plus we also have the town’s main parking area, the children’s playground, amenities and caravan parking which are also all located on the opposite side of the highway to the shops and services.
“I support Peter’s call for creating a safer road environment for the school students and pedestrians.
“We are asking the State Government to reduce the speed limit on the Bunya Highway through Wooroolin to 50km/hour.
“I would encourage the local community to get behind the petition, which will be available in hard copy form in Wooroolin, as well as online at https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/Work-of-the-Assembly/Petitions/Petition-Details?id=3970,” Deb said.
Photo: Member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington, with principal petitioner, Peter Wingfield of Wooroolin.
Member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington says the answer* to her recent Question on Notice about the maintenance of the Cressbrook Creek weir has ignored the concerns of Cressbrook irrigators.
Deb said her Question on Notice has been handballed by the Minister for Water to the Minister for Resources, resulting in even further delays addressing the silt build up in the weir.
“This is truly a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing,” Deb said.
“We have an important piece of water infrastructure which needs maintenance, yet the Department of Water can’t answer questions about the Cressbrook Weir and obviously has no regard for the irrigators who rely on the scheme,” Deb said.
“The irrigators are rightly seeking answers about whether the Government will acknowledge the lack of maintenance on the Weir and the urgent need to remove the silt build-up.
“This silt-build up is affecting the operation of the weir and the ability for water releases to be made by Toowoomba Regional Council from Cressbrook Dam into Cressbrook Creek.
“This is an important issue for local irrigators who have been left in the dark and largely forgotten by this Labor Government.
“Water is a precious resource, and given the current dry conditions, an answer to the question and a commitment to clean out the weir is needed urgently.
“There are too many levels of management for the Cressbrook Creek Water Supply Scheme and ultimately the Irrigators are being left to try and bring all the parties together, which is not sustainable or appropriate for this important water course,” Deb said.
Photo: The Skopps Lane Weir is heavily silted right up to the weir wall.
Member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington says she is extremely concerned about the wastage of a large amount of water which has been flowing from Kingaroy Hospital and into stormwater drains.
Deb said she had been contacted by a local resident who shared concerns about the water, which she believed had been flowing onto Venman Street in Kingaroy for at least twelve months.
“It is quite extraordinary to see so much water going to waste. It is flowing onto Venman Street, and then onto the South Burnett Rail Trail, where it has become a complete mess,” Deb said.
“I wrote to the Health Minister seeking an answer about why so much water is being discharged by Kingaroy Hospital and what was being done to address the problem.
“They have admitted the water is from the Hospital and comes from overflowing storage tanks.
“They claim they can’t quantify how much water is being wasted, but any wastage of water is unacceptable, especially given the current dry conditions the South Burnett is experiencing and the value regional people place on the best use of water resources.
“This has been going on for too long and while the Minister’s response acknowledges the problem and an investigation, I would hope they can find a much better use for the water as soon as possible,” Deb said.
“The new Kingaroy Hospital has been plagued with problems since it opened several years ago and it really is disappointing that this problem has not been addressed sooner.
“The residents of Venman Street are also rightly sick and tired of the constant water in the gutters and the situation it is causing,” Deb said.
Photo: Water from Kingaroy Hospital running into the gutters on Venman Street and towards the South Burnett Rail Trail.
Media Statement - Response to the release of the Bundaberg Burnett Draft Regional Water Assessment
From Deb Frecklington, Shadow Minister for Water and the Construction of Dams Member for Nanango
“As I stated back in March 2022 when the Bundaberg Burnett Regional Water Assessment was announced, this process has been more about fixing a political problem, not a water security problem,” Deb said.
“The Labor Government has spent another $3million on a report which has taken a further 18 months to decide which water projects will be lucky enough to considered by them for further investigation.
“While I welcome the announcement of the three projects which are being considered, it is obvious this report has created a situation where projects in the South Burnett and North Burnett have been kicked into the long grass.
“So much work has been done by both the South Burnett to investigate and develop key water security projects for Kingaroy, Blackbutt and Nanango, but these won’t see the light of day for another five years.
“Primary producers in Coalstoun Lakes have been totally left out of further planning, with the pipeline project from Paradise Dam priced well out of contention. Just a few years ago this project was costed at $57million. Now we’re being told it is a $793million project. It just doesn’t make sense.
“There is so much opportunity which would come with water projects in the North and South Burnett, but unfortunately this Labor Water Assessment means they can put them on hold for the unforeseeable future.
“At this stage the report is still considered a ‘Draft’, and consultation is being held in Kingaroy and Murgon on 27th October. Submissions can also be made by 2nd November via an online feedback form.
“I would encourage anyone with an interest in this issue to have their say and reiterate the importance of the projects which have missed out on support,” Deb said.