The third-world island off the North Qld coast
PALM ISLAND residents on dialysis have had to be evacuated to Townsville due to the ongoing water crisis, with frustrated Mayor Alf Lacey claiming not a single State Government politician has responded to his calls for help.
Thirteen emergency warnings not to drink the tap water on Palm Island have been issued so far this year, the latest one on Wednesday night.
Palm Island Council has been forced to redirect funds to import pallets of bottled water from the mainland at a cost of $300,000 so far.
Queensland Health confirmed 12 dialysis patients have been moved off the island and are being homed in temporary accommodation as well as alternative treatment locations.
A spokeswoman said the arrangement would be in place until the water supply is deemed safe.
"Queensland Health is working closely with the Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council and other government agencies to ensure public health risks are being managed," she said.
A furious Cr Lacey said he had not heard from a single State Government politician.
"Home is always your home, and it's really important if the water issue is not fixing itself then where the bloody hell is everyone?" Cr Lacey said.
"Is Palm part of the seat of Townsville? Is it part of the seat of Herbert? What are we? Just a foreign little island off Queensland?"
Construction of a new water treatment plan on Palm Island was completed in August 2017 at a cost of $1.4 million.
Cr Lacey believes ageing water pipes, installed in the 1950s, have not been able to keep pace with the new water treatment plant.
Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said engineers had visited Palm Island this week and would return next week to address the issue.
"The State Government will do everything in its power to help tackle the infrastructure maintenance issues council has been experiencing," he said.
"I've asked to be kept fully updated on my department's efforts to ensure a safe drinking water supply on Palm Island."
Townsville MP Scott Stewart said he would get in touch with Cr Lacey and do what he can to get over to Palm Island.
He said he had not seen any reports or updates from Minister Hinchliffe and wanted to look at what the experts had said before taking the next step.