Home- grown solutions
ONE child abused is one child too many.
Unfortunately it is impossible to eradicate all harm done to children, as much as we would like that.
But that must not stop all of us doing what we can to strive for that unattainable goal.
And it is up to all of us, not just the Government or police.
We will never have enough government workers or police to conquer this scourge. They need every citizen also committed to the cause of helping our defenceless kids.
That’s one of the messages that will be shared when the city hosts the North Queensland Child Protection Symposium next month.
In any case, the number of children in the region who are subject to ongoing child protection intervention is both heartbreaking and infuriating.
It is now more than four years since Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry commissioner Tim Carmody, QC, delivered his groundbreaking final report.
Yet as we learn in today’s there are still nearly 1400 children requiring protection.
How many of those children would be safer if the Carmody Inquiry’s recommendations had already been fully implemented?
The figures also remind us there is no quick fix to child abuse.
One positive is the upcoming North Queensland Child Protection Symposium, which aims to shine the spotlight on what Carmody recommendations have been implemented and how effective they have been.
Yet while the Government has a responsibility to put child protection structures in place to protect our vulnerable children, that does not absolve any member of our community to accept we all have a role to ensure any suspected cases of child safety breaches are reported.
We must also continue to implement, and build on, the 10- year road map recommended by the Carmody Inquiry by responding to what research tells us about what works and what we can do better.
One child saved would make that worthwhile. WFTAG is not just lobbying for new hi- tech water infrastructure. We are very conscious of the need to improve the city’s water- wise strategies. Most people ( especially garden lovers, plant suppliers, landscapers, turf growers etc) are doing their best to comply with ongoing Level 3 restrictions.
Townsville City Council is reviewing “demand management” and recently reiterated the February 28 advice that outside celebrity advice will guide the process through the Pure Projects Plan.
This has triggered mixed responses in our large group. How much less water will we be expected to use, with no improved supply in the near future, and no guarantee the next wet season will see good rain? No amount of responsible conservation can achieve the water security that is our right.
By researching and documenting the history of Townsville’s water insecurity, we found a report by McIntyre & Associates, commissioned by council, back in 1977.
It predicted by 2000, the city would require a reliable supply of 150ML and 200ML a day by 2020. For the last 12 months on harsh Level 3 restrictions, we have averaged under 100ML a day. The look and feel of Brownsville lives on.
Ahead of a meeting with the mayor this week, we’ve submitted 20 focus questions. Some relate directly to demand, supply, restrictions and conservation. WFTAG’s definition of water security ( once new superior infrastructure is operational) means never having to go to Level 3 restrictions again.
Here are some of the questions. Council responses will be available on our site in due course.
What are council’s current definitions for both “water security” and “demand management” and will these change once new infrastructure is installed?
What will be the trigger points for pumping and restrictions in future, and what descriptors will be attached to each level?
Will council’s own water use be reviewed to improve conservation practices? eg. types of grass and tree species planted, time frame for fixing reported errant sprinklers and leaking pipes.
Will council review covenants and require building plans that result in better water conservation in new subdivisions? Examples:
encourage developers to allow/ install front fences so any watered grass areas are enclosed and used for gardens, leisure, safe play areas for children and pets; not just offroad parking?
incentives for rain and/ or grey water tanks;
incentives for installing drought- tolerant gardens;
industry and larger consumers expected to phase in recycling of all grey water;
public swimming pools to recycle all backwash and incentives for private pool owners to add the technology.
Will council continue with the current “dob in a neighbour” tactic and fines?
Is council considering installing smart meters?
Will council be reconsidering user pays?
Will private bores be monitored to gauge groundwater levels?
Will council develop a dedicated website for the community to learn about and share water education/ conservation ideas?
What does council have planned if the city endures another failed wet season and/ or the current infrastructure ( which has no backup) suffers an extended or catastrophic failure?
Many believe local turfies, business owners and franchisees who specialise in landscaping and gardening should be the first to be called on for conservation advice.
There is an abundance of community knowledge about droughttolerant plants, local soils, weather patterns and garden suppliers.
Council can also strive for bestpractice eg education resources for the community, schools and early learning contexts, increased recycling for parks, better response times for leaks, reviewing sprinklers and nozzles for windy areas like The Strand.
If our situation deteriorates further, the financial fallout will be astronomical. Rates are paid for water allocation and now replacing private garden losses and dead plants and established trees in public parks and spaces.
If Level 4 restrictions are triggered, despite the demographic predictions and our proximity to a vast catchment, the problem is clearly not just a lack of infrastructure funding. This problem is not difficult to fix. Join our group to have your views heard.