NOT A DROP: Rural residents left disappointed
LESS than half of the Southern Downs rural residents who applied to the council’s $1 million water tank rebate will receive the assistance they need, leaving many fearing for their water security.
An electronic ballot drew the 420 successful applications from a pool of 983, with those chosen to receive 10c per litre cash back on the purchase of a new water tank for household use, up to $2500.
One of hundreds of rural residents who missed out on the rebate, Jodie March said she and her husband Craig could certainly have used the extra funding and security.
“It’s disappointing they couldn’t have shared it out a bit better, with the way it was done,” Mrs March said.
“It’s also disappointing there wasn’t more money, but the council can’t pull it out of thin air.
“The town water rebates didn’t have to go through a ballot, so it was ‘first in, best dressed’, but we were told rural was different.”
With no end to the drought in sight, Mrs March added she and her family would likely apply for another round of the rebate, should it become available.
“We’ve got three tanks – we’ve never run out, but we’ve come really close before in those drier times,” she said.
“That extra tank would just make all the difference in security. We’ll just hope they get a grant for more.”
Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi said he would take on feedback from disappointed rural residents and continue pushing for a second rebate.
“We just don’t have the funds to do it all in one hit – we had to find a system whereby if it was oversubscribed, we could somehow sift through all that,” Mr Pennisi said.
“My personal position is I will continue to advocate for other rounds in future budgets, and hopefully at some stage we’ll get around to everybody.
“At the end of this process, we’ll have a bit of a debrief of it to see what went well and what didn’t, and next time we line it up again we’ll have a bit more information to improve it if we can.”