WANT TO BE HEARD: Farmers and workers rally for Paradise Dam outside the Bundaberg Courthouse on Tuesday.
WANT TO BE HEARD: Farmers and workers rally for Paradise Dam outside the Bundaberg Courthouse on Tuesday.

Dam documents declined over strict viewing conditions

IN THE wake of the Save Paradise Dam protest outside the Bundaberg Courthouse, details have come to light about the conditional release of the technical documents requested for Dr Paul Rizzo.

Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said he was advised Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers declined Sunwater’s offer for Dr Rizzo to view nine technical documents.

“The offer still stands and as I said in parliament, all relevant documents are being made available to the independent commission of inquiry,” he said.

However, BFVG managing director Bree Grima said on February 19 she received a letter from SunWater which offered to grant “some documents with conditional aspects”.

Ms Grima said the conditions set out for viewing the documents would not allow Dr Rizzo to carefully examine the documents including any formulas within.

“Irrigators would have had to fund Dr Rizzo’s return visit to Australia to meet these requirements,” she said.

“This offer did not meet our expectations of being provided the documents as was stated by Minister Lynham in parliament and therefore we respectfully declined their offer.

“We will continue to progress these documents through the RTI process.”

With regards to the current plan for Paradise, Dr Lynham said Building Queensland was undertaking an accelerated assessment on options for the future of the dam.

“As part of this it is exploring alternate water supply options to ensure future water security for the region, including the final revised spillway height and the final full supply level for the dam,” he said.

“This assessment will take into account the region’s needs and demand for water and is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of this year.

“In the meantime, the need to take action is clear to reduce risks to the community of Bundaberg and surrounding areas before the 2020-21 wet season.

“We cannot afford delays.”

Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said the State Labor Government’s response to an internationally renowned expert in geotechnical and civil engineering has been “shameful”.

“Our community flew US-based Dr Paul Rizzo to the region as part of a “truly independent” study,” Mr Bennett said.

“The State Government has followed through on their promise and offered these documents to Dr Rizzo, however in a closed meeting in Sunwater’s head office back here in Queensland.”

Mr Bennett said the problem was that Dr Rizzo has since returned to the US and there was no way the community could afford to fly him back to Queensland for a ‘closed viewing’ of the documents.

“How is this ‘in the spirit of continuing to work collaboratively’?” Mr Bennett said.

“There is no way for Dr Rizzo to access these document’s without our community forking out thousands of dollars to fly him back to Australia to view the documents only once.

“What is the Palaszczuk Government hiding?”



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