Politicians address health risks of living near border
SHOULD an ambulance from New South Wales take patients to a Queensland hospital if it will get them to safety in a shorter amount of time?
Issues around health and education have come to light in a gathering of state, federal and local government representatives who met in an effort to build a "seamless” border between the two states.
Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said the annual Cross Border Strategic Alliance Meeting was an opportunity for stakeholders to smooth out key issues.
"While health is a state and federal issue, it affects our residents,” Cr Dobie said.
"There have been many times in the past where a New South Wales ambulance might refuse to take patients to a Queensland hospital even though it is closer.
"What this (meeting) is trying to do is get away from that.”
The mayor said both sides of the border stood to gain from better partnerships.
Upgrading highways from Mount Ommaney to Bolivia Hill, south of Tenterfield, was a priority raised by members of a joint taskforce between the Southern Downs, Tenterfield and Scenic Rim councils.
Education also took centre stage as a topic for discussion.
"Tenterfield TAFE has recently undergone some major upgrades and it is absolutely wonderful,” Cr Dobie said.
"But, if a resident from Wallangarra goes there, they have to pay full price. What we're looking at doing is seeing if they will accept enrolments from different postcodes at a subsidised rate.”
Member for Maranoa David Littleproud said upgrading water infrastructure should be a focus for both states.
"The Federal Government has put $2.5billion on the table but, unless the State Government wants to support us, it can't happen,” he said. "We can dig a big hole but the state owns the water resources, so they have to agree to fill it.”
Other issues discussed at the meeting:
- Construction of a road connecting Girraween and Bald Rock national parks.
- Sharing Wallangarra CED infrastructure with New South Wales township of Jennings.
- Partnerships with Tenterfield Shire Council for waste-to-energy feasibility study.
- New England Highway upgrades.
- Sharing of water across borders.