MOMENTUM: Stanthorpe Community Reference Panel treasurer Steve Tremellen, Minister for Agriculture Mark Furner and Chair of the Emu Swamp Dam Sub-Committee for the Chamber of Commerce, Stephen Tancred.
MOMENTUM: Stanthorpe Community Reference Panel treasurer Steve Tremellen, Minister for Agriculture Mark Furner and Chair of the Emu Swamp Dam Sub-Committee for the Chamber of Commerce, Stephen Tancred. Contributed

Approval transfer takes dam another step closer

WITH approvals in one hand and a thumb up on the other, members of the Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce are rejoicing after taking one step further in the never-ending Emu Swamp Dam saga.

In a special meeting on Monday, Southern Downs councillors resolved to accept a chamber tender offer for required approvals.

Council were hoping to recoup $1,501,980 - but instead accepted an offer of $8,000.

"The Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce has been given an opportunity to progress the Granite Belt Irrigation Project at Emu Swamp Dam," a chamber statement read on Tuesday.

"Council accepted the chamber's tender for the Co-ordinator Generals approvals in relation to the Environmental Impact Statement.

President of the Chamber of Commerce, Bill James, acknowledged the work undertaken by council in gaining an extension of the approvals in October and in obtaining them in the first place.

"We look forward to working with the Southern Downs Regional Council to progress this exciting economic opportunity for the Southern Downs.

"The council is a major stakeholder and is key to the success of the project.

"There is still a lot of work to be done and a lot of things need to fall into place for the project to proceed to construction and operation. Having the EIS approvals is one of those steps."

The chamber will now need to demonstrate to the Coordinator General that it has the ability and capacity to deliver the project as the current approvals will need to be further extended in April 2019.

"The Chamber of Commerce has completed the draft final detailed business case and has submitted it to the Queensland government for review. The Chamber of Commerce will be working with the Queensland and Australian Governments to secure funding for the project." said Mr James.

Members of the Chamber of Commerce were present for the decision.

"The purchase of the approvals is an important step for the Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce to progress the irrigation project," Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said.

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