Elec­tion dif­fi­culty for dam

Stanthorpe Border Post - - NEWS -

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.

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