PROGRESS: Granite Belt Irrigation Project chairman Dan Hunt. State Water minister Glenn Butcher and Southern Downs mayor Vic Pennisi visit the Emu Swamp Dam site.
PROGRESS: Granite Belt Irrigation Project chairman Dan Hunt. State Water minister Glenn Butcher and Southern Downs mayor Vic Pennisi visit the Emu Swamp Dam site.

Water minister slams PM’s Emu Swamp comment

Queensland's Water Minister has snapped back at the Prime Minister on Tuesday afternoon over comments about inaction at Emu Swamp Dam.

Regional Development and Water Minister Glenn Butcher visited the Stanthorpe site as part of his regional Queensland water tour.

Mr Butcher didn't hesitate to fire up when asked about Scott Morrison's "frustrated" comments regarding the highly-anticipated irrigation dam.

"The two projects he told us to get on with are being assessed by private developers like we're seeing here," he said.

"At the end of the day, we're responsible for dam safety and we want to make sure the dams we build are to standard, where we can come here in 50 years and the dams are still usable and safe.

"We've seen where a couple are not to the standard we require, and we're seeing those issues we're having now. We don't want that in the future.

"We want to get the feasibility studies done correctly, the details for businesses cases done properly, and a final investment decision made.

"What we want to see is the Federal Government help us out and get these fine details done.

"It's not just about putting up a besser brick wall and hoping for the best."

Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi said it was encouraging to see the minister but he didn't hold hopes for a full conclusion over the divide of the project.

"Until the dam is full there's a long, hard road ahead. I've been on this journey for about 30 years," he said. 

"It's dealing with one showstopper after another until you get closer."

Mr Butcher further announced $3 million toward an in-depth Toowoomba and Southern Downs regional water assessment.

He said discussions about the future of the Warwick-Toowoomba pipeline would soon be revealed, blaming coronavirus for its delay.

"We're still working with the council to get the project moving forward," he said.

"I know the Premier of Queensland certainly talked about supporting the project. We're just making sure council is on-board.

"Now our water department has the feasibility study, so we're going through that to see how it fits in with our policy objective and hopefully will be able to make a decision on that in the near future.

"A lot of these projects are about consultation, getting out to communities and talking to landowners and Covid put the brakes on a lot of these projects."

Stanthorpe Border Post


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