PUSH: Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Senator James McGrath (front)was in town yesterday to discuss Emu Swamp Dam.
PUSH: Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Senator James McGrath (front)was in town yesterday to discuss Emu Swamp Dam. Matthew Purcell

PM's offsider throws his support behind dam proposal

ONE of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's closest allies has leant his support to the Emu Swamp Dam case.

Senator for Queensland and Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister James McGrath dropped by the Granite Belt yesterday to meet with several dam proponents.

He toured the proposed site, as well as speaking to producers, chamber of commerce representatives and state Member for Southern Downs James Lister.

"I think it's important as a politician, not to just read papers, but see physically where dams can be built," Senator McGrath said.

"The number one issue in rural and regional Australia at the moment is water.

"Everybody is talking about lack of water - here is a proposal to build a dam to provide water for the ag producers of the broader region and that's a good thing."

Federal Member for Maranoa and Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud has shown support for the project, as did his predecessor Barnaby Joyce.

Senator McGrath said the Government was chomping at the bit to build more dams.

"I'm going to push for this dam because I can see the benefit it will have for the whole region.

"(This dam would be) Brilliantly beneficial. When you look at the fact there's been no new dams built in Queensland for the last 30 years - it is a warning shot across our bows, the lack of water that is being kept in storage.

"We have to build dams, not just for today, but tomorrow and the years to come."

He said he'd go back to Canberra and speak with Prime Minister Turnbull about his visit.

Emu Swamp Dam project manager Lloyd Taylor commended the senator "for appraising himself of what's going on".

"The ability of this project to increase the economic outcomes for the region is quite astounding.

"It keeps the community together, it keeps employment in the community and production in the community.

"We just hope at the end of the day the government sees it's a worthy investment," he said.

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