MP OPINION: Govt recognises impact of dam decision on locals
THE Government recognises the impact Sunwater's decision to lower the dam wall has had on the local community.
We share the local producers', industry and the community's goal of ensuring long-term water security, economic growth and jobs for the region.
I note the authors of the letters... strongly advocate streamlining investigations to fast-track decisions.
They ask for Bundaberg and Paradise Dam to be given priority. I want to assure readers that this is happening.
By the end of next week, I will have visited Bundaberg four times in less than two months, and met and spoken to dozens of farmers, civic leaders, local businesspeople and Sunwater customers.
And although community safety comes first, the various investigations have been running as much as possible in parallel so that decisions can be made as soon as possible.
Sunwater's investigations, the independent technical reports and the Business Queensland inquiry into future options have happened in parallel, as will Justice John Byrne's independent inquiry.
And while the Building Queensland investigations continue, Sunwater continues to work with customers on future water supply options for the Burnett and Kolan region.
These options will be resolved by January, and also inform Building Queensland's final report.
Sunwater is also undertaking modelling at the request of the Irrigation Advisory Committee.
As to interim water security, let me make one fact clear: only 20 per cent of the available water for customers in Paradise Dam has been sold.
So even after the spillway is lowered, current customer demands for water will continue to be met after the spillway is lowered. Sunwater can commit to 100 per cent allocation for high priority water in 2020/21 and as I have already said Sunwater and Building Queensland are now looking at all options to support ongoing investment in this region.
Dr Anthony Lynham
Queensland's Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy