Thursday, 22 October 2020

Still no certainty for growers with Labor’s ‘weasel words’ about Paradise Dam yield

The Palaszczuk Government’s weasel words about restoring the yield at Paradise Dam are cold comfort for local growers, said Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt.

Mr Pitt, State Member for Bundaberg David Batt, and State Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett have repeatedly called for the dam to be restored to its full capacity.

Outgoing Minister Anthony Lynham stated this week in Bundaberg that “the yield from Paradise Dam will be restored”.

Mr Pitt said this was a far cry from replacing the dam wall and restoring the dam to full capacity.

“The only thing the Queensland State Labor Government is doing is giving false hope to our farmers who continue to face uncertainty over water security in this region. Labor just don’t give a damn about jobs, families, farmers or businesses outside of the South East corner,” he said.

“In the same breath Minister Lynham said yield will be restored, he also said it will be dependent on test results not expected until the new year.”

Minister Lynham also suggested while in Bundaberg that Labor may not attempt fix their Paradise Dam disaster, making some unclear promise of new infrastructure to solve the lost yield.

“I would say to Labor ‘fix Paradise Dam and if there is new water infrastructure to be had, fund that as well and really create a more certain future for farmers in this region.

“How long will our growers and farmers have to wait for answers? How are they supposed to plan their future crops without knowing how much water they can access?

“Only the LNP opposition have committed to fixing Paradise Dam and supporting our local farmers who are the lifeblood in our community,” Mr Pitt said.

“So far the only thing that has saved this Labor government is the fact that there was unallocated yield held in Paradise Dam’s storage. Labor have dragged that water back, taking away any hope of expansion of the production and jobs that our region desperately needs.

“It is luck, not good planning, that is saving Labor in this Paradise Dam disaster. Our region deserves better.”

Mr Batt said an LNP Government has already committed to fixing Paradise Dam by working with international experts to work on stabilising the dam wall. 

“Dr Paul Rizzo made a detailed submission to the Commission of Inquiry into the Paradise Dam failure, and has expertise in fixing similar infrastructure faults,” he said.

“An LNP government would also investigate and progress more upstream water storage options. The LNP will work with growers and farmers to explore which of these options should be progressed.”

Mr Bennett said the LNP will guarantee farmers water entitlements as well as the long-term water security and potential for the Burnett region. 

“The LNP has also committed to reducing the cost of water by nearly 20 per cent for Sunwater customers – providing significant relief to local irrigators.

“A Deb Frecklington LNP Government will actively work with the Federal Government to investigate and fund the fixing of Paradise as well as exploring new water storage solutions throughout the region.”

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