Paradise dam: ‘All options remain on the table’ for now
CONCERNS surrounding the fate of Paradise Dam and the future of jobs spilt into parliament this week.
Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt rose in parliament to call out Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk for lowering Paradise Dam and address "rumours" of the Commonwealth's involvement.
The decision to lower Paradise Dam 5.8m was a community safety measure with Essential Works beginning in May.
There has been a Commission of Inquiry, a rally to save the dam and now there are legal proceedings to try and restore Paradise.
During his speech, Mr Pitt said the move to reduce the spillway was taking away future jobs and opportunities from his constituents because Paradise was built "to a price and not to a standard".
"The Queensland Labor Government is taking away the agricultural future of our local people and our local kids... Mr Speaker they are out there running rumours that it's the Commonwealth's fault," he said in parliament.
"Well the Commonwealth doesn't own the dam, it doesn't operate the dam, it didn't decide to knock down the dam.
"That is solely a decision of Minister Lynham and the Queensland Premier, Premier Palaszczuk, there is no one else responsible, there is no one else who's issued the contracts there is no one else who is out there literally knocking the wall down right now."
The Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said an independent Commission of Inquiry and 13 experts have confirmed structural and stability issues with Paradise Dam.
"The works underway now to lower the spillway are for community safety," he said.
"All options remain on the table - including returning the dam to its original height - while SunWater and Building Queensland conduct further testing."
In parliament Mr Pitt said the only organisations looking to keep the dam in place was the Queensland LNP, highlighting local members and opposition leader Deb Frecklington.
Mr Pitt told the NewsMail he'd repeatedly called on the Queensland State Labor Government to make safe, repair or replace Paradise Dam to its full capacity.
"Anything less is unacceptable," he said.
"The Palaszczuk Government released thousands of megalitres out to sea and began knocking down the dam wall, despite not having additional testing - recommended by the inquiry it called - being done first.
"As much as I would like to be able to intervene directly, that is impossible as the dam is not owned or operated by the Commonwealth.
"It is the State Government's responsibility to maintain its own water infrastructure. As the Federal Minister for Water, this does not come under my portfolio."
Mr Pitt said the State Government had not approached the Federal Government for advice or assistance in investigating if there is any way to assist with replacing Paradise Dam to its original capacity.
Dr Lynham said he'd repeatedly assured farmers that Paradise Dam would continue to provide long term water security and underpin economic prosperity in Bundaberg and the Burnett for generations to come.
"Once the dam is made safe, testing is completed, and advice provided to Government to make a decision, I look forward to taking Mr Pitt's implied offer of Federal funding to remediate the dam," he said.