'DISGRACEFUL': Dobie accused of denying drought aid
TEMPERS flared at State Parliament yesterday when Southern Downs MP James Lister accused Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Tracy Dobie of denying rural residents state-subsidised water carting.
During a debate on drought Mr Lister told parliament that Queensland Premier Anastasia Palaschuk refused to supply water delivery trucks on Cr Dobie's advice.
"I wrote to the premier asking for support, asking for trucks to deliver water to those who live outside of town," Mr Lister said.
"I got a haughty reply saying no because she had been listening to the toxic mayor of the Southern Downs Regional Council who said that the farmers did not need it.
"Our farmers outside the town need water the the Premier denied them the chance to transport it."
The comments incited outrage from Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, who said Cr Dobie "is a very hardworking and courageous leader for her community."
"That is an outrageous slur," Ms Trad said.
"That was disgraceful."
Southern Downs cattle farmer and drought-aid advocate Cynthia McDonald said she was confused by Cr Dobie's alleged assertion.
"There is absolutely a need within the community," Mrs McDonald said.
"There are farmers screaming out for potable water because it simply hasn't rained for such a long period of time.
"The rural sector is suffering and consequently so is the township, the flow-on effects affect the entire community."
In a copy of the letter addressed to Mr Lister, Ms Palaszczuk said the water carting proposal did not meet requirements set for Defence Assistance to the civil community categories and said SDRC asked to be consulted before any new initiatives were implemented.
"There are logistical and quality assurance challenges in adding water to the current reticulation system," it read.
According to Mr Lister, this statement "reveals the council became involved and opposed assistance".
"I'll call it as I see it," Mr Lister said.
Mrs McDonald said political infighting detracted from the real issue.
"It's a terrible situation we all find ourselves in and it wouldn't matter who was sitting in that seat of mayor, no- one can make it rain," she said.
"In times of crisis like these we need all three levels of government working together to resolve these issues and to droughtproof the region."
Cr Dobie was unable to give a comment in time for print but said she will offer a considered response in coming days.