Work began on lowering Paradise Dam’s spillway from Monday. Picture: Mike Knott.
Work began on lowering Paradise Dam’s spillway from Monday. Picture: Mike Knott.

Council decides against joining Paradise legal action

BUNDABERG agribusiness law firm Marland Law is due to appear in a preliminary review in the Brisbane Supreme Court tomorrow, escalating the protest against lowering Paradise Dam's spillway by 5.8m.

Bundaberg Regional Council has done much to object to the decision of dam owner Sunwater to lower the spillway due to safety concerns.

It has tabled a petition to parliament, helped commission an economic report, and even used country music as a form of protest.

But it decided on Tuesday it will not be joining Marland Law's efforts to begin a class action, despite a request of support by principal lawyer Tom Marland.

But Mr Marland said he appreciated the work the council had already taken, and that his request for support had been sent to all affected water allocation customers. Whilst the council may not be formally part of the legal proceedings, we consider that they still support our attempts to save Paradise Dam and bring some commonsense to bare in its management.

 

A sign protesting the lowering of Paradise Dam at Cordalba. Picture: Mike Knott.
A sign protesting the lowering of Paradise Dam at Cordalba. Picture: Mike Knott.

 

"Council's decision does not affect our current action and we are progressing with the application filed in the Supreme Court on Friday."

Mr Marland wanted to wait until the findings of the Independent Commission of Inquiry were released, which had happened last Thursday, before filing for an injunction.

Work was able to start on Monday following an environment approval granted by the Federal Government last week.

Bundaberg councillors discussed their decision confidentially on Tuesday, but after their meeting, chief executive Stephen Johnston said the council believed it had already been quite proactive in opposing the spillway decision.

 

Paradise Dam at 44 per cent capacity. Picture: Mike Knott
Paradise Dam at 44 per cent capacity. Picture: Mike Knott

 

"We haven't been sitting on our hands and I've just outlined what we have done, which has been a pretty significant effort in terms of trying to convince the State Government, who ultimately are the decision maker to not take the action they're about to embark on to reduce the dam wall."

Mr Johnston said the class action's likelihood of success were not discussed by councillors. When asked if he considered it too late to stop the work, he said, "some people might see it as too late. Clearly the people that have launched the class action didn't see it that way, and as I said there's a lot of information in that report.

"There's obviously contrary views that have been expressed by not only people in the community but by some of the experts such as Dr (Paul) Rizzo."



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