THE State Government response to allegations it was starving amalgamated councils of funds was “very disappointing”, Bundaberg region Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch said yesterday.
Cr Pyefinch said the comments from Local Government Minister Desley Boyle and Infrastructure and Planning Minister Stirling Hinchliffe did not answer the questions they were asked.
Ms Boyle was asked a series of questions by the NewsMail on issues that arose during interviews with members of the Bundaberg Regional Council to mark the second anniversary of the amalgamation of the Bundaberg, Burnett, Isis and Kolan councils.
Asked about the removal of a 40% subsidy for water infrastructure, Ms Boyle said a new $45 million grants program would come online next year.
But Cr Pyefinch said Bundaberg had already been told not to bother applying for funds under that scheme.
Funds would only be provided to smaller councils.
Mr Hinchliffe, answering comments the State Government was not supporting councils with the costs of introducing water fluoridation, said the state provided up to 100% in capital costs.
But Cr Pyefinch said that was of little use to Bundaberg, since the State Government was only supporting the fluoridation of surface water.
“Up to 70% of Bundaberg’s drinking water comes from ground water, which is treated at eight treatment plants around the city,” she said.
“If the State Government is only going to fund treatment infrastructure for the 30% of water that comes from surface water, we will either have to cough up the rest ourselves or mix fluoridated and unfluoridated water, which would make it too diluted.”
Cr Pyefinch said she had sent two letters to Health Minister Paul Lucas seeking clarity or a meeting on the fluoridation issue, but she had yet to receive a reply.