New push for pipeline to Maryborough from embattled dam
IF BRUCE Saunders could run a garden hose between the Fraser Coast and Paradise Dam, he would do it.
The Maryborough MP spoke out after it was announced the equivalent of 32,000 Olympic pools of water would be released from the dam, located near Biggenden.
Mr Saunders still wants a pipeline between the region and the dam, which has come under intense scrutiny over the past week.
With much of Queensland in the middle of a drought, the State Government announced it would release 105,000 megalitres of water from the dam amid fears it would become unsafe if there was a major flood.
Access to 80,000 megalitres of free water will be provided.
Mr Saunders said he understood there were safety issues concerning the dam.
However, he said it was water that would have been put to good use if the State Government had followed his 2017 suggestion and installed a pipeline from the dam to the Fraser Coast.
Mr Saunders' proposed project would cost upwards of $64 million. "Water is the lifeblood for us here," Mr Saunders said.
"We would have used that water in this electorate, not only for farming but for future urban growth."
Last week, Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said it was "ridiculous" for the State Government to consider reducing the capacity at Paradise Dam when the state was drought-stricken.
"Once they permanently reduce the dam level, what next? They decide to reduce it again, and again? Where does that leave our local growers and producers? Water is life for these people. Take it away and what is left for them?" he said.
Meanwhile, the State Opposition is pushing for a parliamentary inquiry into the Paradise Dam reduction.
Opposition leader Deb Frecklington, who visited the dam last Wednesday, said the decision was problematic for drought-affected farmers.
The State Government announced an independent review into Paradise Dam would be held this month, looking into the community's readiness for another flood.
Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham said Cyclone Oswald and the large flood in 2013 devastated Bundaberg and caused significant damage in the dam's vicinity.
"Following that event, then-Minister for Energy and Water Supply, Mark McArdle, commissioned a review of the dam to assess damage, Sunwater's response to the flood event, remedial works and updates to the Emergency Action Plan," he said.
"We need to ensure that downstream residents are protected if there was a repeat of that 2013 event, and that's what this review will look at."