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Around 85 people attended an information session on the Emu Swamp Dam proposal held last Wednesday 9 August at the Stanthorpe International Club.
The seminar was hosted by the Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce, and information was presented on the latest water report adopted by the Southern Downs Regional Council by Chamber president Ian Henderson and chair of the Stanthorpe Community Reference Panel, Stephen Tancred.
Southern Downs LNP candidate James Lister moderated the meeting, with only one Southern Downs councillor in attendance, but the speakers have made the offer to present the information to the full council if they are available.
Mr Tancred said, “many major flaws” were revealed in the recently released report on water security options for Stanthorpe.
“The 300-page report has been accepted by the councillors and the mayor despite the flaws – with the exception of Cr Vic Pennisi who has been made aware of its many problems,” he said.
“I’m quite concerned that our decision-makers have made a mistake because they haven’t got all the facts in front of them.
“Our mayor, CEO and eight councillors receive close to a million dollars a year for their decision-making power, and I think they should always seek information widely.
“Scrutiny of a 300-page technical report is not an easy thing, and as an experienced professional I stand ready to assist the council.
“The report has major mathematical mistakes – $3m addition errors – omissions of important data, uses some obviously flawed assumptions and appears to have interpreted and presented some data in a very odd, one-sided fashion.”
Mr Tancred said surveys were done of those at meeting and 100 per cent of respondents felt that in accepting the report in June, the councillors hadn’t conducted their own independent research or listened to all the stakeholders and based their vote on “a sound understanding of all the issues around Emu Swamp Dam”.
“People who attended the smaller public meeting organised by the council in the previous week were also surveyed and 100 per cent of those respondents said they thought the council should re-consider its decision to accept the GHD consultants report,” he said.
Ian Henderson said he was “concerned that councillors have failed the basic test of governance by not acting with due care, skill and diligence”.
“Everyone in the community who has heard of the report’s problems is worried about the decision process, the lone councillor who has heard of the problems and who has put his concerns on the record,” Mr Henderson said.
“Good dilligence requires a questioning mind and should ensure all facts available are considered.
“To ignore the opportunity to gain easily available facts is alarming.”
He said between $400,000 and $500,000 was spent on the report, and it should stand up to “robust scrutiny”.
The business case for the Emu Swamp Dam was further discussed by councillors in a confidential special meeting held on Monday of this week.

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