Election difficulty for dam
THE state election has thrown a spanner in the works for one of the region’s water security projects.
No further spending will be made by the state Department of Energy and Water Supply for further studies on the Emu Swamp Dam proposal while campaigns are ongoing.
The Southern Downs Regional Council announced a temporary hold on works on Thursday and said the Stanthorpe Chamber of Commerce – the group looking to take on the project – had been advised of the pause.
Before a High Court decision ruled him ineligible to serve in Federal Parliament, former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce revived proposed Emu Swamp Dam plans, seizing study money from the council and opening it up to a new proponent.
Mr Joyce supported the chamber’s plan to take on the project and the next feasibility study. The council won $3.97 million under the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund to complete the study in February to carry out a feasibility study.
Despite the pause, chamber president Ian Henderson is keen to keep things rolling.
“While the Queensland Government is in caretaker mode, the sole provider of the funds, the Federal Government is not. It is not council or state funds, it’s federal funds being used on this project,” he said.
“The chamber has had excellent engagement with state and federal governments, as recent as today (Monday), and work on this project is continuing.
“No commitment of funds or any commitment to the actual dam is required from council during this feasibility study. All at no cost to ratepayers – we don’t see any reason for council not to be involved in this study and we look forward to working with them,” Mr Henderson said.