Parliament dam debate focuses on rail boss role
THE former chief executive of the entity that completed Paradise Dam leads a Brisbane rail project funded by the Queensland Government.
Cross River Rail Delivery Authority's chief executive Graeme Newton was named in Queensland parliament during a debate over the need for an inquiry into Paradise Dam.
The inquiry was urged by Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington but opposed by the State Government when debated in parliament on Wednesday evening.
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Callide MP Colin Boyce reminded the parliament that the dam was in his electorate, and that it was becoming the "biggest construction failure in Queensland's history."
He said that he wanted Mr Newton to be part of the proposed inquiry to answer questions about the dam's construction while he was in charge of Burnett Dam Alliance.
Burnett Dam Alliance took over the construction of the dam in 2005 when the original builder, Walter Construction Group, went into receivership.
"I would like to have this man before a committee to answer questions," Mr Boyce said.
"If this man has no case to answer then put him before the committee and exonerate him.
"I expect the dam safety report is damning and that is why it has not been released.
"Is Mr Newton implicated?
"I need to know the answers.
"I want to know the truth."
Mr Newton was unable to be reached for comment through contacting Cross River Rail.
He has been in his role for two years, leading the $5.4 billion Brisbane rail project, and was formerly the director-general of the Department of Infrastructure and Planning.
It's understood that his role with Paradise Dam was not as an engineer but more involved with community engagement.
The first Queensland Government to speak against Ms Frecklington's motion for an inquiry was Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones, who said that it would not ignore expect advice that it was given to form its decision to lower the dam's spillway.
"We will put the interests of the community first.
"In fact, if we were to go down this path we would see a delay in the process.
"We would go backwards.
"We assure all Queenslanders that we will continue to act in their best interests."