MOVING FORWARD: Agricultural minister David Littleproud and deputy PM Michael McCormack discuss the first stages of development at Emu Swamp Dam with GBIP CEO Lloyd Taylor.
MOVING FORWARD: Agricultural minister David Littleproud and deputy PM Michael McCormack discuss the first stages of development at Emu Swamp Dam with GBIP CEO Lloyd Taylor.

MOVING FORWARD: Emu Swamp Dam reaches critical milestone

GRANITE Belt growers are one step closer to water security following the completion of water sales at the highly anticipated Emu Swamp Dam.

The allocation of dam’s 12,000ML of water is expected to benefit almost 50 agribusinesses and have wide-reaching benefits around the region.

Granite Belt Irrigation Project chair Dan Hunt said the completion of water sales would also see the finalisation of about 120km of pipeline.

“There has never been any doubt about the community’s need for increased water security,” Mr Hunt said.

“The current pipeline design has been based on the initial commitment of interested irrigators.

“With long-term contracts confirmed, we can now validate the pipeline design and move forward with necessary approvals.”

Irrigators’ contribution stands at about $23.4 million, which is close to 28 per cent of the scheme’s cost.

Emu Swamp Dam plans. The thin blue line indicates where the outline of the dam will be.
Emu Swamp Dam plans. The thin blue line indicates where the outline of the dam will be.

Once complete, the dam is anticipated to bring close to 700 full-time agricultural and supporting jobs to the region.

Southern Downs councillor Stephen Tancred noted the project’s importance for the region’s economy in last week’s ordinary meeting.

The announcement of the finalisation of water sales was one Cr Tancred said would allow the council to “provide tangible public support” for the project.

“We’re in a recession, we’ve got a pandemic and 700 jobs is a big number for our region,” Cr Tancred said.

“As a council, we’ll obviously meet all our regulatory standards, but we should also find ways to be supportive and seen to be supportive.”

Work on the dam, west of Stanthorpe, is expected to start in 2021 and due to be finished by 2023.

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