Irrigators across the inland Burnett are calling for more commitments to get much needed water infrastructure built.
- The LNP commits $45 million to build 2 weirs in the Burnett
- The Cooranga Weir project has been floated since 1994
- Irrigators say they need water security to future-proof the region
The LNP announced $25 million to build the Cooranga Weir on the Boyne River, south of Mundubbera and a further $20 million for the Barlil Weir at Barambah Creek.
“These two weirs will create 5,000 jobs not just in construction — it’ll grow our local economy and provide those jobs to the Wide Bay region,” Deputy Opposition leader Deb Frecklington said.
Boyne River Irrigator Advisory Committee Chair, Ken Darrow, said they have been trying to get the Cooranga Weir built since 1994.
Just add water
Mr Darrow said the increased water security is desperately needed.
“Our water supply was turned off in July — so we’ve been the last three months without any water, but previous to that it was about a similar time last year we were out without water for a good eight months,” he explained.
“The guys growing lucerne hay and stuff, they fold up their business when the water runs dry or slowly cut back their business as the water dries up.
Burnett Inland Economic Development Organisation Chief Executive Kristy Frahm said the whole community relies on water.
“Water security is at the top of the list — it comes up in so many different discussions when we’re talking about regional development and economic development,” she said.
“It’s right up there with roads and telecommunications and they’re facing business and industry either directly or indirectly as our economy depends largely on agriculture.”
Now they want to see support from other candidates to guarantee the projects after the state election.
“Once they’re in place over the long term it really does help to future proof our region,” Ms Frahm said.
“When we’re seeing irrigators facing 70 per cent water reliability, in some cases, it’s a big challenge and it’s a big risk for them to further invest in developing their enterprises.”
Queensland Water Minister Anthony Lynham said the Palaszczuk Labor Government is building dams.
“Emu Swamp, Big Rocks [Weir], Rookwood Weir underway and don’t forget we fixed Fairburn dam, we fixed Beardmore dam,” Dr Lynham said.
Trouble in Paradise
The problem-plagued Paradise Dam has continued to cause conflict between the major parties when talking water in the Wide Bay-Burnett.
Ms Frecklington has made a commitment to repair Paradise Dam and restore it to its previous supply level.
“We’ll restore Paradise Dam to the full 300 thousand megalitres that it rightfully should be,” she said.
Dr Lynham said a Labor government will restore the catchment to the same yield.
“The yield is the same as it was before — Paradise Dam capacity before was near 300,000 [megalitres], the yield was between 150–180 [megalitres] and that’s what we’re looking at again,” he explained.