Cattle on Fraser Coast farmer Joel Bengtson's Beelbi Creek property.
Cattle on Fraser Coast farmer Joel Bengtson's Beelbi Creek property.

CALL TO ACTION: Drought advocacy must match sympathy

TODAY the Chronicle will be one of many regional newspapers reporting on drought declaration status.

While it should come as no surprise to anyone, perhaps the official label in more densely populated areas will finally prompt people and politicians to join the battle-weary men and women of the bush in demanding action from our leaders.

Where is the water security plan for our state?

How is it possible that we are continuing to talk about easing traffic congestion and improving quality of life in cities while rural Australia is literally running out of water?

Something has gone dreadfully wrong with Paradise Dam.

The fact we are unlikely to get more answers until February does not mean it should be business as usual until then.

Projects like Cross River Rail however should be on hold until we know more.

The wave of public sympathy towards our farmers and rural communities must be matched by political advocacy.

All the donations in the world will not make a difference to drought-impacted communities in the long run if they do not have access to water.

You can't make it rain but you can prevent the level of suffering.

Building more dams (yes, even when there's no rain on the horizon) and diverting water to inland Australia through ambitious plans like The Bradfield Scheme will be extraordinarily expensive but the alternative human cost means everything must be on the table and decisions fast-tracked.

We need a plan and we need it now.

We need to give regional Australia reason to hold out hope the people with the power to change our water future will make it a priority.

When that day comes it will be decades too late for many country communities but action now will mean this chapter in history can be the cautionary tale we tell our children and not their reality.



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