CANDIDATE Q&A: Addressing water shortages and Paradise Dam
THE NewsMail asked all candidates running in the state election for Bundaberg and Burnett about their stance on water security.
All candidates have been sent the questions. The candidates who feature below have responded.
Water security is of huge concern for a farming community like Bundaberg and we're diversifying from traditional cane crops to thirstier crops like macadamias, for instance, so what will you do to mitigate or avoid critical water shortages and help make water more affordable? What is your stance on Paradise Dam in relation to this?
BUNDABERG (candidates in ballot order)
David Batt (LNP incumbent)
An LNP government will fix Paradise Dam.
Here in Bundy we have incredible produce, soil, farmers, businesses and prior to the Paradise Dam debacle, we had incredible water security too.
What has happened at Paradise Dam is unacceptable - in fact, it is the largest infrastructure failure in Australia's history.
Of course, ensuring the safety of residents should always be the number one priority but we cannot ignore the detrimental impact the 58 per cent decrease in the dam's water capacity is having and will continue to have on our entire region.
If the lost water capacity is not reinstated, it is expected one in five Bundy jobs will be lost or at risk and $2.4 billion could be lost from our local economy over the next 30 years.
The LNP has a plan and a vision for Queensland which includes building the New Bradfield Scheme and establishing a Queensland Dam Company which will be tasked with building new dams and upgrading existing ones - including Paradise.
Water prices are too high.
That's why the LNP will also slash water prices for thousands of Queensland farmers by nearly 20 per cent to unleash the agriculture industry and create long-term secure jobs.
In addition to fixing Paradise Dam, an LNP government will also build two new dams in the Wide Bay Burnett region - the Cooranga and Barolin Weirs.
The Cooranga and Barlil Weirs are a key part of the LNPs plan to double the value of Queensland's agricultural output by 2035 and supercharge our Wide Bay-Burnett region's economy and create 5000 new jobs.
The two new weirs are in addition to the LNP's commitment to fix Paradise Dam and restore it to its full previous supply level."
Tom Smith (Labor)
You cannot have water security without water safety.
Building Queensland is currently conducting testing to finalise options for the incoming government to consider in relation to Paradise Dam.
If elected, Labor will pursue its plan to keep the people of Bundaberg safe and provide water security for the region.
Minister Lynham has stated time and again that the preferred option is to restore the 5.8m of spillway if it is safe to do so.
The Palaszczuk Labor Government has also committed to drought support as long as it is needed, with financial support now totalling more than $745 million across the state.
BURNETT (candidates in ballot order)
Ric Glass (independent)
The big issue is Paradise Dam and 300,000 megalitre capacity being reduced to 160,000 megalitres, I want Paradise Dam restored to it 300,000 mega litre capacity, and if that means building another wall and tearing the old wall down, so be it.
We became to rely on this and the reduction has caused a lot of pain and anxiety for those affected.
I also think we can divert some water from the top to Maryborough and I have heard of plans how this can succeed without affecting our own necessary levels.
Why I am p----d off about Liberal/Labor over this issue is "a proposal" does not affect what they are doing right now, and neither Liberal/Labor will give us a firm proposal of what or who is going to restore our Dam to 300,000 megalitres.
Both Liberal/Labor get photo opportunities, carry clipboards posed with stern faces for the press and go back, never intending to promise us a 300,000 megalitre capacity.
They make a big song and dance in public, but where is our promise, which one Liberal/Labor is going to step up and say "we will restore the dam to 300,000 megalitres"?
That's all we want right now before four years of abyss, a firm promise from either Liberal/Labor and they are both dancing around the issues.
This is regardless of all the paperwork that has to be done.
When that is done, who is going to restore paradise to 300,000 megalitres?
We want an answer from Liberal/Labor and we want it now!
Stephen Bennett (LNP incumbent)
An LNP government has already committed to fixing Paradise Dam by working with international experts to work on stabilising the dam wall.
Dr Paul Rizzo made a detailed submission to the Commission of Inquiry into the Paradise Dam failure, and has expertise in fixing similar infrastructure faults.
An LNP government would also investigate and progress more upstream water storage options.
The LNP will work with growers and farmers to explore which of these options should be progressed.
The LNP will guarantee farmers water entitlements as well as the long term water security and potential for the Burnett region.
The LNP has also committed to reducing the cost of water by nearly 20 per cent for SunWater customers - providing significant relief to local irrigators.
A Deb Frecklington LNP Government will actively work with the Federal Government to investigate and fund the fixing of Paradise as well as exploring new water storage solutions throughout the region.
To droughtproof Queensland and plan for the future, an LNP Government will partner with CSIRO to make the New Bradfield Scheme a key economic driver that helps build a stronger economy and drag Queensland out of recession.
The New Bradfield Scheme is a visionary project that will deliver water security, transform our regional economies, boost renewable hydro-electric power, reduce carbon emissions from new vegetation growth and limit nutrient run-off into the Great Barrier Reef.
If elected, the LNP will also invest a combined $30 million to undertake the environmental and planning work needed to raise the Burdekin Falls Dam and get Nullinga and Urannah dams shovel-ready.
Paul Hudson (Katter's Australian Party)
The dam must be fixed.
I have a background in engineering and science.
I was involved in construction of huge structures in the Norwegian offshore oil industry.
I have read the Rizzo report. I understand the problems and the solutions.
I have phoned and spoken with Dr Paul Rizzo.
There is no reason that the dam cannot be fixed. We must force this through.
The endless studies and form filling are just procrastination.
Why should farmers spend time filling in forms about how much water they might need in three, four or five years' time?
Will "they" decide not to rebuild the dam if you provide the wrong answers on the form?
Will "they" decide to reduce allocations based on what they get back from the survey?
The ALP and the LNP have shown that they are not the friend of the farmer.
The LNP has drifted far to the left.
They have embraced political correctness and the green agenda.
They can no longer be trusted to look after the interests of farmers in regional Queensland. The LNP are trying to play it both ways, and they are betraying the farmers by courting the green vote.
Let's be honest, the puppet mistress in Brisbane determines what tune the LNP dances to in regional Queensland.
Farmers in the region have invested blood, sweat and tears and a lot of money, on the understanding that the dam would be there at full capacity.
To do anything less than rebuild the dam to full capacity is not only morally wrong, it is economic suicide for the entire region.
The dam must be rebuilt. We will use everything we have to force this to happen asap.