NewsMail backs mayor’s petition for dam transparency

THE NewsMail supports the petition that Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey has issued to the Queensland Parliament.

Cr Dempsey urges regional communities to back the petition involving Paradise Dam, in order to send a clear message to Brisbane about the importance of water security.

"If we get the power of the people behind this petition then they are going to have to listen," Cr Dempsey said.

NewsMail editor Adam Wratten said the mayor demonstrated "real leadership" lobbying for the issue, considering that it had been difficult getting direct answers from the government.

"What we've heard so far in relation to why the community can't be informed has just been waffle," Mr Wratten said.

"The government needs to listen to our region on this issue.

"So far, no-one has explained to me in a justifiable way why the technical report has to be kept secret."

Mr Wratten said waiting until early next year was a "cop-out" and either a creditable reason or the technical report should be released to the public now.

"Our community deserves to be treated fairly," he said.

"Can you imagine the government keeping something like this secret in Brisbane?

"We need guarantees from both political sides as well about the region's future water supply reliability.

"This impacts everyone in our region."

On Monday this reporter wrote in an opinion piece that the community was not getting direct answers from the government.

"There's a history going back to the dam's construction, of flaws and reports of leakages, even before the 2013," we wrote.

"Whenever these past concerns are referenced, the government says this is a new issue.

"This almost disregards the fact there were past issues, and yet mentioning those are relevant, because it tells us one thing consistently - Paradise Dam has been a failure.

"And someone needs to be held accountable. But nobody is."

The petition had about 600 signatures by midday on Wednesday, which was about a day after Cr Dempsey sent it to the parliament.

He had the approval of all his counsellors to do so.

The petition expires on February 2, 2020, and can be accessed here.

It says:

Queensland residents draws to the attention of the House that the Government:-

1. Should release technical reports to the public related to the structural integrity of Paradise Dam so that the community understands:

a) the risk to public safety;

b) the options to rebuild the dam wall; and

c) why the dam wall is being lowered by five metres.

2. Reinstate water that's being lost from Paradise Dam to:

a) ensure the long-term water security which Paradise Dam was built to deliver;

b) provide confidence to investors that water will be available; and

c) maintain the Bundaberg Region's status as the food bowl of Australia.

Your petitioners therefore request the House to release the technical reports relating to the structural integrity of Paradise Dam and to reinstate water being lost from Paradise Dam.



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