the Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce delivered the final detailed business case for the Granite Belt Irrigation Project – the proposed Emu Swamp Dam – to the Queensland Government on Thursday 30 January.
In a statement released this week the Chamber said the final version “addressed all of the issues raised by the State Government and independent external reviewers after the draft was delivered on 30 November last year”.
“The detailed business case was delivered on-time and confirms that the project meets all the criteria for funding” said Chamber President Bill James.
“The business case benefited from a terrific amount of input from the lead consultants Jacobs along with engineers, geologists, economists, ecologists, traditional owners, demographers, hydrologists and agricultural experts.”
“The project has contributed to the local Stanthorpe economy with some $365,000 spent locally on the project.
“This was very pleasing as it exceeded our target of 10 per cent spent on local procurement when we commenced the project in March last year.
“This includes some 150 bed nights with local providers and a significant spend within Stanthorpe on food, drinks, groceries and local service providers.”
“The detailed business case concludes that the project is viable with Government support and will increase production in the region by $68m annually and create 700 new jobs.
“The current drought has significantly affected the local economy, but the Emu Swamp dam and its 117 km distribution pipeline will drought-proof us for the next one.
“Costed at $84m the project has already attracted $24 million in private investment from Granite Belt irrigators and the Federal Government has confirmed their support for the project and are working with the Qld Government to secure the remaining funding so that the project can proceed.”
Chair of the Chamber’s Emu Swamp Dam sub-committee Stephen Tancred said the project has been over 15 years in the making with the many studies and reports required for such an important piece of regional infrastructure.
“This project has enjoyed bi-partisan support over the years with each of the major parties contributing to the development of the project over time,” Stephen said.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack is expected to meet with Queensland’s Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham this month to secure the state’s support for Emu Swamp Dam, after the Deputy PM toured the site earlier in February.
• A copy of the Executive Summary of the Detailed Business Case can be found on the Chamber of Commerce website at www.stanthorpecoc.com.au