Town to ‘ die with­out tower’

Party vows to pro­tect Jimna icon

South Burnett Times - - NEWS - Michael Nolan michael. nolan@south­bur­nett­times.com.au

LOVERS of heights and lo­cal his­tory are peg­ging their hopes on One Na­tion hold­ing the bal­ance of power in the next Queens­land par­lia­ment if they want to see the his­toric Jimna Fire Tower saved.

To date Pauline Hanson’s party is the only or­gan­i­sa­tion to prom­ise to re­open the tower and sur­round­ing state for­est.

Jimna Fire Tower Ac­tion Group sec­re­tary Dave Wright said open­ing the tower would lead to growth in tourism.

“Both ma­jor par­ties in Queens­land have ig­nored us,” Mr Wright said.

“We had a rally a cou­ple of months ago. ( Queens­land One Na­tion leader) Steve Dickson, ( Nanango can­di­date) Dou­glas Grant and ( Lock­yer can­di­date) Jim Sav­age were here.

“These peo­ple have to be held ac­count­able and we are des­per­ately try­ing to get the tower saved.”

Mr Wright reck­ons it would cost about $ 800,000 to fix the tower and make it safe for tourists to climb.

This money would come from charg­ing peo­ple to climb the tower to take pho­tos.

“Be­fore it was closed we had 30,000 peo­ple climb­ing the tower each year,” Mr Wright said.

Mem­ber for Nanango Deb Freck­ling­ton dis­agreed with the es­ti­mated fig­ure.

“To make it fit for pub­lic use, with­out ca­bles or an­chors, would re­quire a sub­stan­tial fi­nan­cial in­put of more than $ 1 mil­lion,” she said.

The tower is the largest three- pole wooden fire tower in the south­ern hemi­sphere, stand­ing 47m high.

With­out the tower and its tourist dol­lars, Mr Wright reck­ons Jimna will fade away.

Changes to forestry laws and the de­cline in the tim­ber in­dus­try have led to an ex­o­dus of res­i­dents.

The school, shops and tim­ber mills have now all closed.

Mr Wright said this was in­dica­tive of ru­ral towns across the state.

“The is­sue here is the ac­cess to, and man­age­ment of, state for­est and na­tional parks,” he said.

“I’m talk­ing about prospect­ing, bush­walk­ing, hunt­ing, camp­ing, fish­ing and bird watch­ing.

“That’s an is­sue LNP and La­bor have never put on the ta­ble.”

The clo­sure left the forestry in a woe­ful con­di­tion.

“Ev­ery­one is a lit­tle bit green, we all care about the en­vi­ron­ment but we don’t lock the forests up and tell peo­ple not to come here,” he said.

PHOTO: VICKI WOOD

HIGH HOPES: Jimna Fire Tower Ac­tion Group sec­re­tary Dave Wright wants prom­ises from each po­lit­i­cal party to save the tower.

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