How Coalstoun Lakes Val­ley could feed a na­tion

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Erica Murree erica.murree@cnbtimes.com.au

DAMS or a bet­ter wa­ter sup­ply could turn Coalstoun Lakes Val­ley into a food bas­ket for the na­tion.

Farm­ers and politi­cians met on Tues­day to visit the area and dis­cuss op­tions for mak­ing the val­ley a hot-spot for hor­ti­cul­ture.

For North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil Mayor Don Waugh, stand­ing on the side of the lake hill was an eye-opener.

“Driv­ing through the val­ley, you know just how fer­tile the area is,” he said.

“It has the po­ten­tial to feed Australia but all that is miss­ing is a regular sup­ply of wa­ter.”

Farmer Mark Rack­e­mann said he knew what this coun­try here was ca­pa­ble of.

“This soil is magic,” he said.

“It can grow a crop on two falls of rain, but needs that ex­tra bit of wa­ter to fin­ish it off.”

BGA Kin­garoy Agri Ser­vices’ Ian Crosth­waite tabled a study, Agri­cul­tural Re­sources As­sess­ment of Coalstoun Lakes, that out­lined at least 20 dif­fer­ent crops which were suit­able to be grown in the val­ley.

“Any­thing can be grown here – just need the right kind of sea­sons,” he said.

Mem­ber for Flynn Ken O’Dowd has taken the farm­ers’ plight to Can­berra to­day for the Na­tional Party’s “think tank”.

The farm­ers out­lined the var­i­ous stud­ies un­der­taken in past years be­fore Par­adise Dam was built.

One op­tion in one of those stud­ies was to build a dam on Baram­bah Creek at Ban Ban Springs.

Cr Waugh raised the topic of on-farm stor­age in­fra­struc­ture util­is­ing the wa­ter in times of flood, while oth­ers agreed a pipe­line from Par­adise Dam was fea­si­ble.

PHOTO: ERICA MURREE

IN THOUGHT: Farm­ers Kerry Dove and Steve Mar­shall pon­der what the val­ley would look like with a per­ma­nent wa­ter sup­ply.

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