Images from the NSW Rural Fire Service Facebook page.
Images from the NSW Rural Fire Service Facebook page.

Mayor calls for Premier to open travel bubble for Mungindi

BALONNE Shire Mayor Samantha O'Toole has joined calls for Mungindi residents to be free to travel to Moree to access supplies and services following a devastating fire on Tuesday which wiped our three local businesses.

Cr O'Toole said if New South Wales residents of the town currently travelled to Moree for groceries, they had to quarantine for two weeks prior to crossing into the Queensland side of the border bubble because of existing restrictions.

"This has obvious impacts for many including hospital staff given the majority live in New South Wales," she said.

"While I understand that assistance is being offered it will be several days before any alternative facility is up and running and a relaxation in the bubble rules - even for a short time - would prove beneficial."

Cr O'Toole also said the Balonne Shire Council remained in constant contact with leaders in the town and the Moree Plains Shire Council in the wake of the fire which wiped out the local supermarket, butcher's shop and a local dress shop.

She spoke with Moree Plains Mayor Katrina Humphries and Anna Harrison, from the Mungindi Progress Association, on Wednesday and offered any assistance required.

"I have told both ladies that if they, in the days and weeks ahead, need assistance from the Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) or Balonne Shire Council to reach out to us. They both were grateful for the contact and the offer," she said.

Cr O'Toole said Ann Margaret, the Director of Nursing from the Mungindi Hospital, joined a scheduled LDMG meeting on Wednesday morning and expressed some concern about the resupply of food for the Mungindi hospital but felt they could redirect that to St George.

"Initially they also had issues around food supply for the broader community and possibly prescriptions."

"Care Balonne has co-ordinated hampers with fresh fruit, vegetables and meat which will be delivered later today."

Cr O'Toole said she was pleased the New South Wales State Government had given the Moree Plains Shire Council $100,000 to seed fund an alternative grocery location in the former Services' Club building.

"Moree Plains Shire Council will be working with the Progress Association to get that up and running as soon as possible."

"In the short-term Woolworths Moree has agreed to deliver groceries to Mungindi."

She said will be contacting Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Chief Health Officer today advocating for Moree Plains to included in the border bubble.

"Under these current circumstances, it's not a stretch too far for the premier to consider this," she said.

"Mungindi is one community between two borders and two local governments, things are already complicated enough, they really need to show some compassion during this time."

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