SHE'LL BE APPLES: Southern Downs councillor Vic Pennisi welcomes news the state will kick in the $16 million needed for Emu Swamp Dam to proceed, but advocates a degree of restraint.
SHE'LL BE APPLES: Southern Downs councillor Vic Pennisi welcomes news the state will kick in the $16 million needed for Emu Swamp Dam to proceed, but advocates a degree of restraint. DEIRDRE SMITH

A decision 25 years in the making

SOUTHERN Downs councillor Vic Pennisi has been waiting a long time for the Emu Swamp Dam.

"My hair was red when I began to champion it and now it's a different colour,” he said.

His role in the project is as chair of the Stanthorpe Community Reference Panel and he estimated he had been involved in looking at alternative water supply options for the Granite Belt for 25 years.

While welcoming the news that the Queensland Government would kick in the $16 million required for the project to proceed, he advocated a degree of restraint.

"Most people are doing cartwheels,” he said.

"But there is no dam yet and there is a fair way to go.

"This is just another step in the journey.”

He said news of the state government contribution was 'fantastic news' and that he was looking forward to being involved 'in some way if I can be'.

"No one was more excited than me to read the headlines,” he said. "But they haven't turned the first sod, they haven't cut a ribbon. This just gets it a bit closer.”

Councillor Pennisi paid tribute to the many people involved in pushing for the dam saying it was 'a real community effort'.

He said local politicians, James Lister and David Littleproud had advocated for many years, as had Lawrence Springborg before them.

He also commended government workers involved for their 'patience and professionalism'.

"It's not about me, it's about we,” he said. "The late Glen Rogers did a lot on this project, so did Ian Henderson, the chamber president.

"The growers put up their hand to chip in $24 million”.

"I'm privileged to be able to advocate on behalf of the poor buggers out there with no water at the moment.”

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