External media 'deliberately destroyed' Oakey: Mayor
"WHY do I love Oakey so much?" father Michael Hartin asked crowds at today's rally to change negative attitudes surrounding the town.
"It's the town my daughter went to kindergarten in, it's the town I brought my son home to from hospital where I saw him take his first steps, it's the town I love very much and shall always remain in my heart," he said.
The town was a sea of black and yellow this morning as about 100 people rallied to showcase the town's positives during its battle with groundwater contamination.
Residents took turns to talk about what they loved most about being an "Oakeyite".
Mr Hartin, who also represented New Acland, said residents needed to remind everyone that the town was still open for business.
"This is a big issue and it certainly isn't going away but one thing that was discussed in the senate on Thursday was this issue and it looks like it has bypardison support so it is going to be rectified and dealt with in the appropriate manner," he said.
"So what we have to do is make sure we don't speculate, we don't make unjustified comments and stay Oakey proud.
Mayor Paul Antonio slammed external media for the town's toxic image.
"What's happened here is external media, and I won't go much further in case I get sued, but external media has very clearly gone out there deliberately to destroy," he said.
Earlier this year an Oakey farmer whose watermelons were labelled toxic by state media said the story was completely wrong.
"What's happened to Oakey by external media, not local media, is probably one of the worst events I've seen," Cr Antonio added.
Cr Antonio said council planned to invest more money into Oakey and was also in talks to get the town to utilise upcoming smart technologies.
Co-rally organiser Craig Commens said: "nobody disputes that we have a problem with contamination with our bore water in this area but it is a very small area".
Today residents dressed in "anything Oakey" including work and school uniforms and even had a best-dressed prize.
Many wore black shirts that read "Oakey fights back" in yellow, which were sponsored by Black Toyota, Oakey Gym and Fitness Centre and Total Diversified Services.
Oakey Beef Exports, Kerrytown meats and Super IGA put on a free sausage sizzle.
The background music for the rally included fitting songs We're Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister, We Can't Be Broken by Twin Forks, My Little Town by Simon and Garfunkel and more.