FUTURE PLANNING: Stephen Tancred and John Bylicki believe Emu Swamp Dam would be a good option for the Granite Belt region.
FUTURE PLANNING: Stephen Tancred and John Bylicki believe Emu Swamp Dam would be a good option for the Granite Belt region. Liana Turner

Emu Swamp Dam 'good for region'

COMMUNITY leaders have spoken out in support of the proposed Emu Swamp Dam.

Robert Simcocks from new community group Water Action Team Empowering Rate Payers, whose property would be impacted by its construction, last week said Emu Swamp Dam wasn't the answer for the region's water security.

But Stanthorpe Community Reference Panel chairman Stephen Tancred said many years of planning and studies indicated the long-term benefit of the dam, which he believes would "drought-proof” the Granite Belt, far outweighed the negative impacts.

Mr Tancred said as the Granite Belt was a growing region, it was crucial to look to future water resources, including new water options rather than existing ones which would be at risk of drying up, such as Connolly Dam. "If we don't need all of it right now, we will eventually,” he said.

He said $4 million in federal funding towards the Southern Downs Regional Council's further studies on the dam meant upper levels of government were serious about Emu Swamp Dam.

He said this also lessened the burden on ratepayers.

"Our tourism and our agriculture are linked,” Mr Tancred said.

"If we can have more water, we can have bigger farms and more farms.”

He said the council's contribution of $14.4 million, less than the contribution expected from all other parties, would not hurt ratepayers in the long run.

He said claims the farmers didn't want the dam were "really untruthful”.

"We have no doubt that the demand is there from existing and new farmers,” he said.

Mr Tancred said while the environmental reports had led to some conditions such as ecosystem offsets, there were no "show-stoppers”.

Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce president John Bylicki said the chamber had looked at the studies on the project and decided Emu Swamp Dam, while contentious, was a good option for the region.

"The chamber... has looked at all the reports and we've decided it's a good thing for the community,” Mr Bylicki said.

"It will be our number one infrastructure project going forward.”

In last Thursday's Stanthorpe Border Post, a street poll suggested residents were commenting on Storm King Dam. This was a misprint, as the residents were commenting on whether Emu Swamp Dam should proceed.

Details about the plans for Emu Swamp Dam can be found at sdrc.qld.gov.au.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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