‘Never before seen’ drought closes on southeast
THE state's drought needs to be one of COAG's highest priorities, according to the Local Government Association of Queensland, with almost three million people now affected by the disaster.
LGAQ chief executive Greg Hallam wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday, urging them to have a unified approach to water security.
It was revealed yesterday that the drought had closed in on the southeast, with a further eight councils being added to the drought declaration.
The Gold Coast, Logan and the Sunshine Coast were among the areas.
Mr Hallam said it was a never-before-seen event.
"This never-ending trainwreck of a disaster of a drought is really attacking the social and economic fabric of many country towns and you haven't got to go far, 30 or 40km out of Brisbane," he said.
Mr Hallam said the drought, which stretched "well beyond the farm door", had seen kids talk about having to give up their pets while mothers were worried about not being able to afford Christmas presents.
He said pressure reduction and leakage management of reticulation systems in country towns were among ways to help reduce water consumption.
"What is missing, however, is a strategy for rural towns' water supply, agreed to and supported by all three tiers of government," he said.
"This should be the highest priority for COAG and needs to occur in a spirit of collaboration, innovation and without blame - and it needs to occur urgently."
A spokesman for the Premier said Ms Palaszczuk wrote to the Prime Minister in October asking that drought be put on the Council of Australian Governments' agenda.
"Unfortunately COAG was cancelled by the Prime Minister," he said.
In the Glass House Mountains, Pim's Organics Farm owner Pim Mens said this would be the first time in 22 years that she would not be planting her usual 25,000 strawberries for summer.
"We're not growing any strawberries for the end of the year - we're not going to have any income from the farm for the next six months," she said.
"We had a hailstorm - some of the hail was the size of a cricket ball - a couple weeks ago and our strawberries were destroyed … it has been the worst drought for us.
"The drought this year has affected us a lot because at one stage we had to swap (from) one dam to another dam because we ran out of water, and then we pump another dam.
"When you have to water them every hour, you can just see the dam drops, like, a foot down."
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said with more communities being drought-declared, water security should be Queensland's No.1 priority.