No state commitment on dam as yet

Deputy PM and Nationals leader Michael McCormack.

By Jeremy Sollars

The Queensland Government is yet to announce its support or otherwise for Stanthorpe’s proposed Emu Swamp Dam.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack toured the site on the Severn River in early February after announcing Canberra was prepared to commit $42 million to the project, alongside $24 million pre-committed by more than 50 local primary producers.

Queensland Government support for the dam is the crucial sticking point, as the state is the custodian of water resources, and dam proponent the Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce is hoping for a state commitment of $18 million.

State Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham this week confirmed to the Free Times he had had a phone conversation with the Deputy PM in recent days but stopped short of committing the Palaszczuk Government to supporting Emu Swamp Dam.

“The (state) government is committed to responsible, carefully planned water infrastructure,” Dr Lynham said.

“Water infrastructure is costly, water resources have to be managed carefully, and we make no apologies for thorough investigation.

“This is how we ensure that the taxpayers are getting value for money and that our water resources are being managed sustainably.

“I have spoken to the Deputy Prime Minister about the proposed Emu Swamp Dam.

Without divulging the details of a private conversation, I have asked him to provide further information on a number of key issues and I await that information.

“In the meantime, the Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce’s business case is with the Morrison Government.”

Stanthorpe-based horticulture consultant Stephen Tancred was a guest speaker at this week’s Warwick Chamber of Commerce AGM, held at the Criterion Hotel on Monday night.

Mr Tancred – who chairs the Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Granite Belt Irrigation Project’ sub-committee – outlined the benefits Emu Swamp Dam would bring both to the Granite Belt and also the wider region’s overall water security.

Key points in his address were the 700 new jobs the project would create in the Granite Belt farming sector along with an estimated increase in agricultural production of $68 million a year.

Mr Tancred re-confirmed the Emu Swamp Dam project would not require funding from the Southern Downs Regional Council.

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