Standing up for standpipes

Tooborac farmers have called on government funding of upgrades to community water points.

By Jackson Russell

Landholders from the north of Mitchell Shire advocating for upgrades to community water points are encouraging more community involvement with a public meeting in Broadford on Saturday.

Tooborac farmer Bill Chisholm and the Standpipes Action Group, which consists of residents from Pyalong, Tooborac and Glenaroua, has invited the community to the public meeting outside the Broadford Hall on Murchison Street from 11am.

Mr Chisholm, who also serves as a Mitchell Shire councillor, said while council had agreed to fund upgrades to two of the shire’s 13 community water points, the group hoped the State Government would work with council to support further upgrades.

“The State Government takes around $4 million out of Mitchell Shire each year through the Fire Services Levy so hopefully we can lobby the government to work with council to upgrade the standpipes, especially where there are no alternative sources,” he said.

“A lot of these rural ones are crucial, especially where there’s no other source of water for 10 kilometres.”

The Standpipes Action Group has invited politicians from all sides to the meeting and will also meet with Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes this week to discuss the matter.

BlazeAid founder Kevin Butler is set to speak at the meeting, along with other speakers about the value of water and the effects of fire on the community.

The group is also considering launching a petition at the meeting.

Mr Chisholm said the meeting was not just important to rural landholders, but also to people living in townships.

“The Kilmore-Mickleham fire started in Mickleham, Black Saturday started in Kilmore, this has ramifications for everybody, not just farmers,” he said.

“It’s the whole community working together to make the community safer so we’d like as many people to attend as possible.”