South Burnett Mayor supports Premier on border closures
The South Burnett Regional Council Mayor has today joined Cherbourg Aboriginal Council Mayor to support the Palaszczuk Government and plead for border restrictions to stay in place.
Cr Brett Otto, Mayor of South Burnett, said he is extremely concerned about the pressure being applied to the Premier and the Chief Health Officer and said we must stand behind our leaders, to avoid lockdowns and protect our vulnerable first nations peoples and our local industries.
“My concerns are around our economy, especially tourism, pork and other agriculture value chains and also for the vulnerability of the Cherbourg indigenous community,” the passionate Mayor said.
“The South Burnett is renowned as one of the most important agricultural areas in this state and one case of COVID-19 could put this at risk.”
“Kingaroy is home to the country’s largest pork producing plant and 95% of pigs in Queensland are processed at the plant. Any disruption to this could absolutely devastate the Queensland Pork Industry.
“We need the pork industry and the supply chains that support for our local economy. Any processing interruption could see hundreds of job losses and our grain farmers hit again after decades of ongoing drought.”
The Mayor also highlighted the importance of tourism for the area.
“The South Burnett is a popular inland tourism destination, tourist numbers have skyrocketed in recent months, with Queenslanders exploring our backyard.”
“This may not be of comfort to larger operators and those dependent on international travellers but the push from the Queensland government to explore local areas is working for some areas, and when we boast places like the Bunya Mountains and wine and walking trails, it is good reminder to people these magnificent places exist at their doorsteps.”
“Our building industry is seeing demand go through the roof, with southern buyers looking to prepare for a tree change into regional Queensland. The industry has been struggling for several years, now we just don’t have enough land in towns such as Kingaroy.”
But today Mayor Otto stood beside Cherbourg Mayor Elvie Sandow to really push the importance of border restrictions to keep indigenous communities safe.
‘We support the Premier and Chief Health Officer for having their strong stance on border control to help protect our first nations people,” Mayor Otto said.
It is well known our first nations people are more vulnerable and susceptible to disease. Many of our indigenous communities are living with underlying medical conditions and are at a greater risk from COVID-19.
The Mayor said, if the government are forced to bring in army or police to monitor permits and borders in towns around Cherbourg it could have long term impacts.
“The physical and mental health to these people will be catastrophic. Horrific memories will resurface – these people have already suffered inter-generational trauma. We wish to avoid this at all costs,” the Mayor said.
The Mayor concluded by saying he applauds the Premier and the Chief Health Officer and recognises they have a very tough job now.