MEDIA STATEMENT: 17 September 2020

A critical milestone in the construction of the 12,000 megalitre Emu Swamp Dam has been reached with the final phase of water sales with local irrigators commencing this week.

Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said involved irrigators would finalise their water allocation agreements for the dam and pipeline project located south-west of Stanthorpe.

“The Palaszczuk Government’s economic plan for Queensland, Unite and Recover, is focussed on building our traditional strengths like agriculture to create local jobs and building infrastructure,” Dr Lynham said.

“After a strong COVID-19 health response, we can now focus on that plan, with a $50 billion infrastructure guarantee to support communities and jobs across Queensland.

“Emu Swamp Dam will provide water to 51 agribusiness customers and bring wide-reaching benefits to the region.

“It is expected to create 250 jobs during construction, and 700 new full-time agriculture and supporting jobs in the region, to boost the wellbeing of the local community.

The Palaszczuk Government committed $13.6 million to kick start Emu Swamp Dam, with an advanced release of $6 million to fast-track the project.

The collective monetary support from irrigators will total $23.4 million, 28 per cent of the cost of the scheme, to be the highest proportion of private investment in water infrastructure in Queensland’s history.

Granite Belt Water CEO Lloyd Taylor said finalising the financial commitment of local irrigators would trigger the next stage of works.

“We will be working in consultation with irrigators over the next month to finalise water sales and progress the next stage of this important piece of infrastructure for the Granite Belt community,” Mr Taylor said.

“We are asking these agribusinesses to confirm their long-term contract with the scheme, which will also allow us to validate the pipeline design and move forward with necessary approvals.

“We expect to have all water sales confirmed by the end of next month.

“Importantly, the completion of this phase will be a significant step towards breaking ground on construction of the dam.”

Once operational, Emu Swamp Dam will provide water security for irrigators by guaranteeing a monthly average of 90 per cent of their water allocation.

“It is a significant project for producers, the government, and the broader community, and is poised to boost the value of annual gross agricultural production by $68 million to create long-term jobs in farming and support industries in the Granite Belt,” Mr Taylor said.

More information about the project can be found on the GBIP website www.granitebeltirrigationproject.com.au.