CAMPAIGNER: Councillor Vic Pennisi has been a long-time advocate of the Emu Swamp Dam project.
CAMPAIGNER: Councillor Vic Pennisi has been a long-time advocate of the Emu Swamp Dam project. Hayden Smith

$3.9M for Emu Swamp Dam

A MAJOR funding boost from the Federal Government will go towards the Emu Swamp Dam project.

Southern Downs Regional Council yesterday announced the council had secured $3.97million over two years through the National Water Infrastruc- ture Development Fund.

The money will be used to progress investigations and strategies associated with the project.

Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie welcomed the announcement, with the potential for the project to boost agricultural production on the Granite Belt.

“The Deputy Prime Minister has always been a great supporter of this project and demonstrated his commitment to the further progression of Emu Swamp Dam with this funding,” Cr Dobie said.

“Council will need to carefully plan internal processes to deal with the procurement of suitable consultants and contractors to manage the project, as well as consulting with key stakeholders.

“It’s great to see a sustainable back-up, potable water system for the supply of reticulated water to Stanthorpe may be developed while meeting the needs of irrigators.”

Funding will cover activities including an assessment of the Resource Operations Plan and economic benefits of the dam construction and supplying water to the area.

Save Our Shire advocate Sue Johnson has opposed the dam construction but welcomed further planning studies under the Federal Government grant.

“If it’s totally independent I think a feasibility study could be really good thing that would hopefully help clear up lot of the exaggerations in previous studies,” Mrs Johnson said.

“Stanthorpe’s growth has been overstated and usage quoted as 600L per person per day, when the actual figure is closer to 250L.

“It also hasn’t been made clear just how much it will cost residents to pump the water to Stanthorpe.”

Project proponent Vic Pennisi said the next step of the project would help clarify the overall cost of the project.

“It is a big project and we’re a little council and how we find the money has always been a show stopper,” Cr Pennisi said.

“Without a doubt I am pleased we have secured the next stage of this process and by the end of it we’ll have a good idea of what the project is really going to cost. “I congratulate Barnaby Joyce and the Federal Government for recognising the value of the region and investing in our future.”



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