Relief greets Queensland dam funding decision

In great news for Wide Bay region sugarcane growers, the final piece of the puzzle to restore Paradise Dam to its original water storage capacity has fallen into place.

“Confirmation this week that the Queensland and Federal governments will jointly fund the $1.2 billion needed to restore the dam has taken a huge weight off the shoulders of farmers in the Bundaberg and Childers areas,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said.

“For two years farmers have lived with uncertainty about the long-term availability of water to secure the future of irrigated agriculture in this food bowl region.

“We welcome the cooperation the governments have shown to progress this restoration project and the confidence that it gives to farmers and the many employers and employees who rely on agriculture in the region.”

In the Bundaberg-Burnett region, CANEGROWERS calculates almost 1,800 full-time equivalent jobs rely on the sugarcane industry alone which supports around $450 million of local economic activity.

“Since the wall of Paradise Dam was controversially lowered by 5.8 metres in late 2019 because of concerns about its structural integrity, CANEGROWERS and other agriculture groups have been calling for commitments to restore its water storage capacity,” Mr Galligan said.

“On Christmas Eve we had the announcement that technical investigations had shown it was possible to safely re-raise, strengthen and stabilise the wall.

“With the welcome funding commitments this week from two tiers of government, a very long and nervous wait is over and we look forward to the work being expedited.”