HANDS OFF: Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said the community had fought hard to secure Paradise Dam and a new irrigation pipeline could jeopardise the Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme.
HANDS OFF: Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said the community had fought hard to secure Paradise Dam and a new irrigation pipeline could jeopardise the Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme. Max Fleet BUN231013DAM3

Paradise pipeline is just 'pipedream', says MP

LEANNE Donaldson has condemned fellow Labor MP Bruce Saunders' plans for a new irrigation pipeline from Paradise Dam to Maryborough as nothing more than a "pipedream”.

The Member for Maryborough unveiled the $64 million plan earlier this week and said it was essential the Maryborough electorate received the funding for the pipeline to expand its agricultural base, secure the future of the biofuels industry in the region and create jobs.

But the Member for Bundaberg said the community had fought hard to secure Paradise Dam and a new irrigation pipeline could jeopardise the Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme.

"We don't want to go back to 1970s when Bundaberg was known as one of the driest sugar-producing areas in the state,” Ms Donaldson said.

"I don't want anything to jeopardise our water and irrigation supply and will fight to retain what we have.”

"I am strongly opposed to the suggestion of a new irrigation pipeline from Paradise Dam to Maryborough.

Ms Donaldson the Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme supplied water to farmlands and communities within the Bundaberg, Burnett, Kolan and Isis regions.

Paradise Dam supplies the Bundaberg Irrigation Area and complements other storages on the Burnett and Kolan rivers.

Dale Holliss, a joint spokesman for Arc Up, a group lobbying for lower power prices, said it made sense to at least investigate the pipeline option.

"Unless electricity prices are reduced by at least 30% we are in danger of having dams full of water and no one able to afford to draw on them,” Mr Holliss said.

"That is why Bundaberg irrigators have not used the water - they simply can't afford to.”

Mr Holliss said it wasn't the first time the idea had been thrown about.

"I might be cynical but every time this plan is relaunched, an election follows,” Mr Holliss said.

The Wide Bay Burnett Environment Council has approved the idea for the new Paradise Dam pipeline, stating it would take pressure off vulnerable aquatic species.

"It will allow for spilling events to be reduced and it also takes some pressure off the dam structure, which is by no means recognised as 'rock solid' after the massive impact it received from the 2011-2013 flood events,” council president Roger Currie said.



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