Granite Belt Irrigation Project edges closer to kick-starting construction
By Dan Hunt, Granite Belt Irrigation Project Chairman
LOOKING back at the history of the Granite Belt Irrigation Project, we are delighted by the progress that has been made in 2020 and the major steps that have been taken towards building this much-needed piece of water infrastructure for local primary producers and communities.
The recent appointment of national engineering consultancy Premise places us in a strong position to obtain the necessary government permits and approvals to prepare tenders for construction for the dam and the pipeline in the near future.
GBIP has also appointed specialist land acquisition and compensation advisory company, Minsol Group, to investigate the pipeline corridor. Minsol Group has begun talking to around 51 landholders and agribusiness customers about access, or acquiring land along the 117km pipeline route. In a series of stages over coming weeks, landholders can expect a letter from the Minsol Group, asking for a meeting to discuss the route, to help lead us to accurately cost the project and to obtain necessary approvals to kick-start construction.
GBIP is, in part, funded by $23.4 million from local irrigators, the highest proportion of private investment in water infrastructure in Queensland’s history, and we believe this is testament to the value this Project will bring to water security, production and prosperity to the communities, farmers and other businesses of the Granite Belt. This massive investment also clearly highlights the desperate need for this reliable water source in the region.
Last month, Canberra showed their support for the Project with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack and Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud visiting the Granite Belt to tour the Project site.
The fact the Ministers made this concerted effort to see our work firsthand, and to speak with the local community, shows their commitment to GBIP moving forward – and this was most certainly reflected in the comments they made throughout the visit.
Minister McCormack said the construction of Emu Swamp Dam would be the catalyst for change on the mainland to build dams – because there’s communities right across Australia, like us, who need this type of water infrastructure.
Minister Littleproud said he was keen to see dozers and excavators moving to get the Project started and reiterated the best time to build infrastructure like this is now, when our economy is in a recession, because it will create jobs and help get our economy moving again.
At the end of July we also held a function at Stanthorpe’s Queensland College of Wine Tourism (QCWT) to thank the wonderful people of the Granite Belt community who have invested so much of their valuable time and energy to move this Project to where it is today, in particular the Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce, who were the only community organisation to deliver a detailed business case for this water infrastructure proposal.
On the night, Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Vic Pennisi welcomed the establishment of our own community hub in the main street at 3/35 Maryland Street. Mayor Pennisi said he looked forward to the official opening of the office soon.
Please feel free to drop into the shop or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.It’s really important to us the community is with us every step of the way as we edge closer to starting this vital Project.
Our website www.granitebeltirrigationproject.com.au is also now up and running – you can visit the site to stay up to date with the latest news on the Project and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.
Media contact: Stacey Wordsworth
0438 394 371