Amendment for Paradise Dam work passes in State Parliament
CHILDERS farmer John Russo said the community was blindsided by an amendment which will speed up the lowering of Paradise Dam.
The amendment was attached to an agriculture bill which was passed tonight, following a heated debate in the State Parliament.
Burnett MP Stephen Bennett, Bundaberg MP David Batt, and Callide MP Colin Boyce walked out of the chamber in protest during the vote.
"We will not vote yes in circumstances," Mr Bennett said in a text message, shortly after the debate.
Mr Russo spoke about the amendment during a meeting held among Childers Chamber of Commerce members this morning, which was attended by 25 members and Bundaberg Regional Council representatives.
"A lot of people weren't aware of it and when the broader implications were found out everyone was horrified in that room," Mr Russo said.
Mr Russo said lowering the dam's spillway would affect Childers' farming and business economy, and risk lowering the value of land due to reduced water allocations.
He was upset with the State Government, and he said the farming community was being overlooked.
It had not been consulted about the amendment which would allow 17 different acts to be bypassed to hasten the work at the dam.
"We just go about our business and we want people to get out of our roads, we stay out of people's roads and we're not that confrontational," Mr Russo said.
"Every other group, if they have an issue, they're out there disrupting activity in the main street of Brisbane or Parliament House."
The amendment had been attached to a mine safety bill, but today it had been changed to be part of the Agriculture and Other Legislation Amendment Bill.
During the debate Bundaberg MP David Batt asked why the government was rushing to lower the dam, considering it knew about its poor integrity since 2015.
"This scandal is the worst of its kind," he said.
Resources Minister Anthony Lynham shouted his response by saying the LNP debaters "were not fit to represent the community."
"What we hear is scaremongering," Dr Lynham said.
"My priority is the safety of Bundaberg and the Burnett."
He said the LNP did not seem to have the same priority about the safety of the communities downstream of the dam, and that work needed to be completed before the next wet season.
"Their first priority is politics, their second priority is water security," Dr Lynham said.
Opposition leader Deb Frecklington, also shouted, saying the government's decision to hasten work on the spillway had nothing to do with safety.
"If it was about safety then why has the Palaszczuk Government sat on its hands since 2015?" she said.