Friday, 11 February 2022

Federal funding to cover State’s shortfall and raise Paradise Dam

The Liberal and Nationals Government will deliver up to $600 million in funding to restore Paradise Dam to its full capacity, securing the Bundaberg region’s water future and helping local farmers bounce back.

After more than two years of delays, the Queensland Labor Government is finally taking action to fix Paradise Dam, albeit with a commitment to fund only 50 per cent of the total project cost.

To end any uncertainty over the dam’s future, the Federal Government will provide the remaining funding up to $600 million to cover the state government’s shortfall and ensure the $1.2 billion rebuild progresses.

Paradise Dam is the main water source for the Queensland food bowl of Bundaberg. A diminished water supply has hurt local producers the most, resulting in job losses and reduced investment in the region.

Returning the dam to its full 300,000-megalitre capacity will give farmers, businesses and households confidence they will have access to the water they need in the decades ahead.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said the Federal Government’s investment would ensure the rebuild gets done.

“Farmers in the region have spent the last two years in limbo, worrying if they’ll have the water they need to support and grow their businesses into the future,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“It’s all well and good for the Queensland Labor Government to say they’ll fix the dam, but the funding they’ve committed falls well short of what’s required to complete the job.

“Committing enough money to half repair the dam doesn’t allay the fears of locals, which is why the Liberal and Nationals Government is putting the remaining money on the table to get the job done.

“Our investment will help provide the water security the region needs while supporting 250 construction jobs and unlocking new and expanded opportunities for farmers and businesses.

“Keith Pitt, Ken O’Dowd and Colin Boyce understand the value of water in this region and they’ve fought tirelessly for this outcome. They are getting the job done for Queenslanders.”

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said taxpayers wouldn’t be in this position if the Queensland Labor Government had built the dam properly in the first place.

“Despite desperate pleas to fix it from our local agriculture sector over the last two years, we’ve had nothing but delays and excuses from the state government about why it couldn’t be done,” Mr Pitt said.

“I welcome the Deputy Prime Minister’s announcement that the Commonwealth will help pay for the repairs but it’s crucial the Queensland Labor Government does the job properly so the dam can do what it was supposed to do – boost local jobs and economic opportunities.

“While I am pleased that we are able to deliver the money that’s necessary, it breaks my heart to think that this funding could have gone to a new Level 5 hospital for Bundaberg or to dual-carriage the Maryborough-Bundaberg section of the Bruce Highway.”

Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said the issues with Paradise Dam are a result of the Queensland Labor Government’s mismanagement.

“Labor built it, then broke it. They have now only committed enough money to half repair it,” Mr O’Dowd said.

“After two years of excuses and delays, the Queensland Labor Government has committed $600 million to the project, a convenient distraction from their current integrity crisis.”

The Government will establish a project team to work with the Queensland Government to ensure the rebuild progresses without further delay and Paradise Dam is built back better and to modern standards.

Early works for the rebuild will commence in 2023.

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