‘Heartbreaking’: Gladstone misses out on $1m drought relief
The Gladstone Region has missed out on drought relief funding of up to $1 million.
This is despite the area being drought-declared for eight months and a township without a reliable water supply.
Mayor Matt Burnett said it was "a little bit heartbreaking" that Gladstone was not one of the 52 councils added to the Federal Government's extended drought funding program.
But he said it was far from game over.
"Absolutely I'm disappointed. Obviously we've been advocating for a long time but we'll continue to work with Ken (Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd) and lobby the minister," Cr Burnett said.
The Gladstone Region was drought declared by the Queensland Government on May 1.
In the 2019 calendar year 477.2mm of rainfall was recorded at Gladstone Radar.
It was the driest year since 2001.
The council's own drought appeal sits at over $25,000 and Cr Burnett said it would be nice for the support to be replicated by the Federal Government.
"Maybe they could at least match it or put on an extra zero," he said.
The Federal Government announced this week the extra 52 councils would be eligible as part of an extension of the Drought Communities Programme.
Bundaberg Regional Council was included in the latest round, and North Burnett and Banana Shire were named in previous announcements.
Mr O'Dowd said he would continue to advocate to Minister for Drought David Littleproud on behalf of the region.
"I will constantly advocate for the interests of people living in my electorate and the Gladstone Regional Council to the minister regarding this," Mr O'Dowd said.
In a statement, Mr Littleproud said eligibility for the Drought Communities Programme was determined by rainfall data and agricultural and broader employment information.
Asked what the region could do with an extra $1 million for drought relief, Cr Burnett's first thought was to assist Miriam Vale and other towns where water security was an ongoing challenge.
Miriam Vale residents have been on water restrictions since September after the township's water source, Baffle Creek, dried up.
"We are trucking water into Miriam Vale," Cr Burnett said. "That's only one of the things we could use it for."
Other ideas cited by the Mayor included support for primary producers to install dams and supplementing the cost of putting in a bore.