Emu Swamp welcome but comes with risks: Dobie
SOUTHERN Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie has welcomed news the State Government will foot the final chunk of the bill to build Emu Swamp Dam, but said the project was not risk-free for already struggling producers.
Cr Dobie said there were still concerns about viability and the possible cost on growers if it went awry.
"One issue is that the water is quite expensive and growers' money is at risk," she said.
"It is absolutely essential that risk is reduced to a minimum, which is why the State Government released a conditional grant."
But for the 700 ongoing jobs and the drought contingency the project promises to provide, the risk was one many Southern Downs growers are willing to take.
"I think it's very important to see a future," Cr Dobie said.
"The dam will take two years to construct and then once construction is finished, it still has to rain.
"But it will provide confidence in the future and an opportunity out there for them while they wait."
Despite the concerns, Cr Dobie said the State Government's pledge to provide the final $13 million was "fantastic" and signalled a game changer in the dam's 38-year plan.
"I spoke to Mr Lynham (yesterday) morning, and thanked him on behalf of everyone in the Southern Downs for the State Government's conditional grant," Cr Dobie said.
"I know that in this terrible drought, there is sometimes a need to be in this situation and for announcements like this to happen is great."
SDRC has previously voiced hesitations about the dam, due to its limited water access.
"This is a private dam funded by those investors committed to invest and will only supply to the growers that can access the water so other growers not in that location may not be able to benefit from the dam," Cr Dobie said.
"Council has always been supportive of the dam as an irrigation project."