Bree Grima and Craig Van Rooyan signed the Paradise Dam petition.
Bree Grima and Craig Van Rooyan signed the Paradise Dam petition.

Growers back Mayor’s dam petition

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers has thrown its support behind Mayor Jack Dempsey’s Paradise Dam petition with farmers sending out an impassioned plea to fix the wall.

The organisation represents more than 400 fruit, vegetable, herb and nut producers throughout the Wide Bay Burnett area.

Managing director Bree Grima said BFVG was calling on all residents to support the petition.

“This is an opportunity for industry and the entire region to stand together on such an important issue,” Bree said. “It’s an opportunity for us to say that we’re seeking transparency in terms of the decisions that are made which effect an entire region and which effect an entire industry as well.”

With uncertainty swirling around the future of Paradise Dam Bree said it was a confusing time for BFVG members.

“There’s a lot of anxiety and a lot of angst.”

She said BFVG understood that the dam’s structural integrity issues needed to be addressed but called on the State Government to reveal its plans to reinstate “full water capacity to the region”.

Craig Van Rooyen, who has been farming in the region for 21 years, is concerned about the viability of his operations.

He owns two farms and has another under contract. On just one of those farms he has 14,000 macadamia, lychee and avocado trees and employs 75 people throughout the year.

But without water, he said he had nothing.

“You muck this dam up, ok, and you are buggering up this area,” Craig said.

“The politicians need to understand how important this is. “And we’re going to tell them that and if they’re going to muck it up then they’ll be voted out.”

With an agricultural degree and years of experience Craig said he would hate to leave the area, but it could come to that.

“I honestly believe that this Bundaberg region is one of the best agricultural regions not just in Australia but in the entire world.

“This dam is cementing that. If we don’t have that water security, it diminishes the value of this area enormously. “You take the water away and we walk away, in fact, we leave the area.

“That’s how important it is.”