The Queensland Government says water security plans “for southern inland Queensland have been further boosted with a six-million-dollar funding advance to progress the Emu Swamp Dam on the Granite Belt”.
In a statement released today – Thursday 20 February – Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the money would “allow Granite Belt Water over a number of instalments to get on with early pre-construction activities”.
“My government has already committed $13.6 million to this project, and that commitment is solid,” the Premier said.
“But the proponent has asked for a special advance from those funds and I have listened.
“Emu Swamp Dam could provide up to 3900 megalitres of water every year to local farmers.
“That means jobs – jobs in Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt.
“It means young people and families staying in the region, putting their pay packets through the local stores, and sending their kids to the school.”
Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the advance would allow Granite Belt Water “to develop and release tender documents for design and construction, fund contracts with irrigators and start work to meet the conditions associated with the total funding for the project”.
Granite Belt Water chairman Dan Hunt said the announcement was welcome news to the proponent and local irrigators.
“This is the essential seed funding we need to progress initial activities and get this project rolling,” he said.
“We appreciate the effort of government officers who have been constructively working with us to progress the project.
“The funds for pre-construction activities will help us meet the conditions on the rest of the funding and potentially progress a project that would deliver 700 permanent new jobs in the region, along with 250 jobs in construction.
“With this funding, Granite Belt Water expects a final decision could be made on the commercial feasibility of the project by October.”
Granite Belt Water proposes an $84 million dam on the Severn River near Stanthorpe to provide water to local farms via a 117-kilometre pipe network. The distribution network will include solar power generation and large scale battery storage to power the pumps.
The Premier said “usually, a proponent would fund works and receive reimbursement from the state”.
However, the Premier said she recognised “the challenges Granite Belt Water faced in advancing this project”.
“The Granite Belt has been doing it tough, but some dams are filling and there are smiles on people’s faces again,” she said.