LETTER: The lowering of Paradise Dam

TESTING TIME

All of the Bundaberg and Wide Bay region should all be alarmed at the current actions of our State Government to spend $100m of taxpayers' money to lower the height of Paradise Dam.

Paradise Dam is the cornerstone of Bundaberg's economy - a region which grows 25 per cent of Australia's fresh fruit and vegetables.

This is a major food bowl for our nation with water security that is the envy of many.

The lowering of Paradise Dam threatens that food security and our economy.

Bundaberg already suffers higher than average unemployment, yet the Queensland Government is about to tear away at a major piece of infrastructure that directly supports over 8000 jobs and many more indirectly in our region.

A recent study shows that lowering Paradise Dam by 5m will deliver a $2.4 billion hit to our local economy!

We have recently found out that they are already going to pull it down further to 5.8m.

What cost does that equate to?

There will be nothing stopping them going further still once the excavators are on the wall.

Needless to say the Bundaberg community and its farmers are outraged.

So much so that we have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight the decision to lower the dam.

We have engaged a world-leading expert in dam design, construction and remediation, Dr Paul Rizzo. Something our government should have done before making ill-informed decisions.

Dr Rizzo along with three other international experts have stated during the recent Commission of Inquiry that the testing data the government has relied on to make their decisions is inappropriate and inadequate, thereby debunking the alarmist community safety message they have been peddling.

Further to this, Dr Rizzo has also provided us with an alternative option to fix the dam at is full height.

And why is the government sitting on the findings of the inquiry it launched into Paradise Dam? An inquiry that cost Queensland taxpayers $6m.

The final report was handed to the Government more than two weeks ago and we still haven't seen it, presumably it doesn't fit their narrative.

Be under no illusion, if this dam is lowered, we will not get it back.

The government tells us it is looking into options to restore the water capacity but there is no firm commitment and none will be forthcoming.

It's no secret that our government is broke and so there will be no money to fund it.

I thought food security and jobs would be important to our government in these days of COVID-19.

It seems they are not.

Clearly, they think Virgin Australia is a better investment.

Michael McMahon, director, Nutbush Farms



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