SEEING the positive impacts large-scale water developments bring to a community firsthand has made local businesswoman Maddie Burton a fierce supporter of the Granite Belt Irrigation Project (GBIP).
As a long-term resident of the Stanthorpe region, Maddie can vividly recall the impact the Glenlyon Dam building had on the community in the 1970s, which she describes as a period of great economic prosperity.
Having run Maddie’s Gift Gallery for more than 25 years, she believes those thriving times could be replicated with GBIP’s Emu Swamp Dam.
“The town was absolutely booming,” Maddie said.
“It brought so many more people to Stanthorpe as all the project’s employees – the engineers, planners and operators – were all in town. I also remember at the time there were schemes with the dam that helped locals gain new skills and get jobs.
“It was all so positive for the community, and it’s why I see Emu Swamp Dam as being a massive benefit to the region.”
Maddie’s Maryland Street business, which is open seven days a week and sells everything from gorgeous newborn presents to high-quality watches, wallets and crockery, was first bought in 1996 to create off-farm income for her family’s grazing property that was in the grips of drought.
As a primary producer herself, she sees the water security the Emu Swamp Dam will provide farmers as being imperative.
“We must have this dam,” she said.
“Emu Swamp has been needed by the district for far too long already. Water has become so scarce and we need the infrastructure to guarantee a supply for the future.”