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The Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce this week received a letter from Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce supporting the chamber’s desire to become the new proponent for the Emu Swamp Dam feasibility study.
Chamber president Ian Henderson said the chamber was “very excited at this prospect and will be working on strategies to become the proponent and fast-track the feasibility study project”.
“The Deputy Prime Minister, through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund (NWIDF), committed funding of $3.97m for this feasibility study,” Mr Henderson said.
“Some of these funds have already been spent on initial investigations by the Southern Downs Regional Council.
“Emu Swamp Dam is a priority for irrigators and key to growing the economy of the Southern Downs.
“Barnaby Joyce is a strong advocate for advancing agriculture in Australia and developing water infrastructure is critical to the development of a more prosperous and resilient agricultural sector.
“Projects like Emu Swamp Dam, that can provide increased economic benefits, and stronger regional communities are what the NWIDF was established for.”
Mr Henderson said Mr Joyce was “keen that a new proponent can be established quickly to allow the remaining $3.52m of funds allocated to be spent on the engineering design, business case and planning approvals”.
“The council has expressed to Mr Joyce that they do not propose to advance the study and were open to a third party taking on the grant for this work, thus allowing another proponent to be appointed,” he said.
“The Stanthorpe Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to be granted this opportunity by the Deputy Prime Minister.
“The opportunity to take on the detailed business case came as a result of a submission to him from the chamber and the Stanthorpe Community Reference Panel.
“A subsequent meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and the leaders of these two organisations was also recently conducted where Mr Joyce offered his support to this project continuing with the remainder of the existing grant.
“The Deputy Prime Minister has advised the State Government and council of his decision and the chamber is hopeful of a smooth transition of proponent status.
“It is the position of the chamber of commerce that the feasibility study proceeds on the assumption that this will still be a combined irrigation and urban supply dam.
“Furthermore, the recent (State Government) DEWS report clearly identified that Stanthorpe requires more water for urban supply.
“It can’t be avoided that some new urban supply water infrastructure will need to be constructed before 2036.
“Ongoing, this study will continue to explore if Emu Swamp Dam can augment urban supply while delivering agricultural water at the same time.”

  • Bill Humble

    Thank you Barnaby, well done the Chamber of Commerce under Mr. Ian Hendersons guidance. Let this Emu Swamp get up and running said Hanrahan lest we ” All be ruined ” Cheers.

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