Maj Gen Peter Arnison says his goodbyes to the Mary Valley, as his Community Futures Task Force approaches the end of its role.
Maj Gen Peter Arnison says his goodbyes to the Mary Valley, as his Community Futures Task Force approaches the end of its role. Renee Pilcher

Arnison pays tribute to the Valley

AS the Mary Valley prepares to say goodbye to the State Government’s Community Futures Task Force, task force chair Peter Arnison has paid tribute to the resilience and constructive attitude of residents affected by the Traveston Crossing dam proposal.

The task force, which has acted as an intermediary and facilitator between residents and the government, will cease to be a presence in the Valley in a few weeks.

Major General Arnison told a meeting of dam stakeholders of his admiration for the people of the Mary Valley and their community and economic institutions.

“The people of the Valley have shown resilience in quite a remarkable way,” he said.

He said the community had been reasonable even on intensely emotional issues.

“The relationship that existed between the task force and community groups has been a very constructive relationship (including) some plain talking,” he said.

He particularly mentioned Friends of Kandanga, Mary Valley Inc, the Show Society, The Mary Valley Chamber of Commerce and Industry and praised the role of schools in helping their students deal with the issues.

“The role of the Mary Valley College and all the one-teacher schools ...When families are under pressure and the kids traumatised, teachers play an important role.

“The MVHR Rattler has been a golden thread linking Valley towns and bringing in tourists.”

And he said the Gympie Regional Council had played “an increasingly important role.

“The task force continues until June 30 and we’ll be looking at the activities of various government agencies to make sure that service delivery continues and that there is a good understanding in the departments. Members of the task force team will continue their roles (though) now in the Department of Infrastructure and Planning.

“We’ll be providing a final report in July, essentially closing down the accountability of the team and hopefully providing some ideas.”

Maj Gen Arnison also praised the Queensland Police Service, “who fortunately didn’t have much to do.

“There was occasionally some shouting, but I don’t believe there were any suicides, adding that the dispute had brought new unity to Valley communities,” he said.

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