Thursday, 26 August 2021
CLOSE your eyes and imagine, just for a moment, that half of the Mungindi community is without potable water, with no working sewerage system and no garbage services.
This is not a terrible nightmare, it would be the reality if we, on the southern side of the border, behaved how the Queensland Government is right now toward us.
You see, while the Mungindi Hospital (as of last weekend shut to all NSW residents and staff), sits just over the Barwon River (the border) on the Queensland side, all of the above services are delivered, maintained and paid for by NSW, via Moree Plains Shire Council.
If we treated the almost 150 Mungindi residents on the other side of Barwon River in the same manner their government is treating the almost 600 fellow residents on the NSW side – these critical and basic services would all be denied to them, immediately and without notice.
If this were to occur, I am certain council and the NSW Government would be roundly condemned by Queensland – and rightly so.
The township of Mungindi is unique – it straddles the Barwon River – the border between two States yet retains the same name in both. Since the community was founded in the early 1800s every subsequently state government, on both sides, has acknowledged and accepted that Mungindi is one community with both states and local councils working together on the joint provision of facilities and services.
The disgraceful, heartless and callous action of the Queensland Government last weekend has in effect ripped up this accord and trashed the efforts of the last 200 years of working together to deliver services to everyone in Mungindi, regardless of which side of the Barwon they choose to reside.
No one is rolling over though, with members of the community, Moree Plains Shire Council, State and Federal MPs (on both sides of the border), NSW Cross Border Commissioner and the NSW Government and many others, all joining the fight to re-open the Mungindi Hospital to all Mungindi residents.
The Queensland Government is trying to rip the Mungindi community apart and turn resident against resident and friend against friend, but we must not allow that to occur.
Just as essential services like drinking water, sewerage and garbage collection should never be denied to any section of the Mungindi community, neither should basic primary allied and acute health services, via the local hospital.
Together, we must continue to fight this draconian and heartless decision with everything we’ve got. If we do, I know we will win.