By Jackson Russell –
Tooborac farmers are calling on the Victorian Government to assist in upgrading much needed community water points.
Community water points – standpipes, bores and tanks – are crucial to firefighting and drought relief efforts throughout the rural areas of Mitchell Shire and across Victoria.
Tooborac farmer Bill Chisholm, who also serves as a Mitchell Shire councillor, said there are 13 community water points across Mitchell Shire, some in need of upgrades.
One in particular, near the Nulla Vale Fire Brigade, desperately needs maintenance and upgrades due to the water table dropping with a new bore costing $30,000.
“You’re looking at probably $5000 for a farm fire unit that farmers have invested in. Surely the State Government can step up and put some money towards some water because they’re really critical,” Mr Chisholm said.
“It’s an apolitical issue. We’re looking for the State Government to step up. We’re definitely not picking sides, we just want a result.”
Managers, including councils, are responsible for the operation and maintenance of emergency water supply points.
Mr Chisholm said Mitchell Shire Council has agreed to upgrade two standpipes at High Camp and Seymour.
The Victorian Government’s Improved Access to Emergency Water Supply Points program is installing 12 new emergency water supply points across Central and East Gippsland, some of which will now be important to the ongoing recovery of bushfire impacted communities.
Member for Euroa Steph Ryan said it’s understandable for landowners to want to see different levels of government fund the infrastructure to ensure that in the event of a fire, water is accessible, or in times of drought, they can access water when they need to cart it for stock.
“There are a lot of farmers in Mitchell Shire and drought doesn’t work off arbitrary lines on the map. Drought doesn’t just impact some local government areas and not others,” she said.
“At the end of the day, if you don’t have water then these CFA brigades are really going to struggle in the event of a grass fire or bushfire.”