The feasibility of a dam at Bookookoorara/Boonoo Boonoo, wastewater treatment, highway upgrades, a road connection between Bald Rack and Girraween, motor vehicle registration, use of cross-border trades and ambulance and fire services were all on the agenda when the Cross Border Strategic Alliance met at the Wallangarra Railway Cafe on Thursday, April 20.
Although the alliance meets on a biannual basis, this gathering included state and federal members of parliament (although member for New England and deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce had other commitments). The meeting was much better for it, according to Southern Downs Regional Council mayor Tracie Dobie.
“A lot of action will come out of today’s meeting,” she said.
She was pleased that the issues raised at the local government level could be given a state and federal government perspective, and taken forward. She said a lot of local issues have wider impact, even though it’s natural for local governments to focus on their own issues.
Ms Dobie considered it somewhat liberating to be dealing with another local council that, while neighbouring her own, is in a different state and therefore not competing for Queensland funding. She felt such meetings are invaluable in dealing with issues like pest control, where the pests don’t recognise state borders.
“We can have a consistent approach,” she said.
Tenterfield mayor Peter Petty said the prospect of a dam in the Bookookoorara/Boonoo Boonoo area would be presented to his council at its May meeting, and he anticipated strong support.
He considered the alliance meetings a great opportunity to raise issues that need to be discussed and organised, and said the alliance between Southern Downs and Tenterfield is a unique relationship.
“I would list this alliance as one of the best things we’ve ever done,” he said.
“When our state and federal members are aware of the good alliance we have, it helps them do their job.”
While the mayors and their general managers meet more regularly, the alliance endeavours to have a major get-together twice a year.