Lynham: Inquiry not fastest route for Paradise Dam answers
BURNETT MP Stephen Bennett has renewed his push for a full-blown inquiry into Paradise Dam.
“I call on the Premier today: stop this nonsense,” Mr Bennett said yesterday.
“Let’s put all the information on the table, let’s have a full-blown inquiry so everyone – including those stakeholders that have billions dollars that are now in limbo – get the true answers.”
But Minister for Natural Resources Dr Anthony Lynham said the reviews being conducted would, unlike a Parliamentary inquiry, provide answers before the end of the year.
He said the state government was acting on advice from Sunwater that action needed to be taken immediately, and the government kicked into gear rather than wait for a Parliamentary inquiry.
“The recent highly-technical report is currently being reviewed by one of the world’s few experts in this area,” he said.
“And these reports will be released when they are completed, giving the people of Bundaberg and wider Burnett community full information, first-hand rather than gossip from the Member for Burnett.
“I expect those reports will be released before the end of the year.”
Mr Bennett called for the inquiry to “get to the bottom of what the debacle was from 2006 and onwards so we don’t make these mistakes again”.
And while a source revealed to the NewsMail on Wednesday that the dam had structural problems from construction, Mr Bennett said the Newman Government had not sat idly by during its term in state office.
“We were the ones that got independent reports from the New South Wales Public Works Department who told us the dam was fine,” Mr Bennett said.
“The same Sunwater who told the mayor of the day, Mal Forman – and I was at those disaster recovery meetings – ‘You can stand up in front of the press today and tell your community the dam is safe’.”
He said the Newman Government spent hundreds of millions on making sure the region had evacuation routes and a recovery period, as well as $70 million repairing Paradise Dam.
“They fixed the dissipater, they also started the work on the spillway which still hasn’t been done and they also repaired the works that weren’t done by the Labor Government in 2011,” he said.