MEDIA STATEMENT: 14 July 2020
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack and Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud showed their support for the important Granite Belt Irrigation Project (GBIP) when they toured the Project development site on Monday.
GBIP will deliver a 12,000 megalitre dam at Emu Swamp, south-west of Stanthorpe, and 117km of pipeline to provide water to 51 agribusiness customers in the region, and to bring water security and a range of key social and economic benefits to local communities. Senator for Queensland Gerard Rennick also joined the tour to view the progress of key pre-construction works.
The Deputy Prime Minister said the Project would increase water reliability in the region by 40 per cent.
“When we start construction on Emu Swamp Dam, when we begin that build, when the first shovel goes in the ground, when the first dozer actually begins that construction, it will be the catalyst for change on the mainland to build dams,” Mr McCormack said.
“It creates more jobs and it will create more confidence and more opportunity for towns such as Stanthorpe.
“And there’s communities right across this nation, like Stanthorpe, that need this water infrastructure.”
GBIP is funded by $23.4 million from local irrigators, the highest proportion of private investment in water infrastructure in Queensland’s history, in addition to $47 million from the Australian Government and a conditional commitment of $13.6 million from the Queensland Government, of which $6 million has been released to fund pre-construction activities.
Minister Littleproud said the time had now come for action on this critical piece of infrastructure.
“The time for talk is over,” Mr Littleproud said.
“People just want to see some dozers and excavators moving.
“When we are in recession, it is time to build infrastructure that is going to rebuild our economy and building water infrastructure will do exactly that.”
Granite Belt Water CEO Lloyd Taylor said the visit by two Australian Cabinet Ministers gave the Project even greater legitimacy as it tracks towards a final decision on construction in early 2021.
“It shows they understand what the need is, and they want to help,” Mr Taylor said.
“The fact they have taken the time to come to Stanthorpe shows they understand the impact this Project will have on the Granite Belt community and there is no doubt it will help to future-proof the region.”
A new website has been launched at www.granitebeltirrigationproject.com.au and a shopfront opened at 3/35 Maryland Street, Stanthorpe, to allow increased engagement with the community.
When operational, the GBIP is expected to create 250 jobs during construction, and 700 new full-time agriculture and supporting jobs in the region which will substantially boost the prosperity of the local community.
Tenders to construct the dam and provide pipeline infrastructure will be released in coming months.
Media contact: Stacey Wordsworth
0438 394 371