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

Soil turned in exiciting Emu Swamp development

THE first soil has been moved at Emu Swamp Dam’s header tank site, exciting producers, investors and the wider community.

The developments at the privately-owned site are the first of the two-year project, expected to provide 3900ML of water to irrigators each year.

I & L Rizzato and Sons Orchard owner and Granite Belt Irrigation Project director Dino Rizzato said the first steps couldn’t have come soon enough.

“It’s never too late. We need to his security for the whole community, whether it’s the town or the growers, without water we can’t do it,” he said.

“It’s great to see that it is happening, it’s been a long wait and it couldn’t come at a better time.

“The water isn’t going to come out of the tap tomorrow, so we have to keep doing what we’re doing to hang in there.”

Emu Swamp will become one of four dams built on mainland Australia since 2003, with 16 dams having been built in Tasmania.

GBIP strategic Adviser Brent Finlay, Ballandean Estate Wines Leeanne Gangemi, deputy PM Michael McCormack, Agricultural Minister David Littleproud, I and L Rissato and Sons Orchard owner Dino Rizzato and GBIP CEO Lloyd Taylor.
GBIP strategic Adviser Brent Finlay, Ballandean Estate Wines Leeanne Gangemi, deputy PM Michael McCormack, Agricultural Minister David Littleproud, I and L Rissato and Sons Orchard owner Dino Rizzato and GBIP CEO Lloyd Taylor.

Construction on Emu Swamp is expected to begin at the start of 2021, with work on the irrigation dam set to be complete by 2023.

Mr Rizzato said while water won’t happen over night, there had been a shift in attitude among eager producers.

“Everyone in this region have been tight for water for the past 50 years, so there’s no one out there wasting water, we’ve all been using a trickle,” he said.

“You’ll find that people will treat water valuably because it’s not about now we’ve got more water so you can use more, it’s security.

“That’s what we need, we need to be able to sleep at night knowing there is some water there.”

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud toured the header site, inspecting the early stages of development.

Mr Littleproud said there was no better time to develop infrastructure and provide communities with water security.

“Now the time for talk is over, people are jack of that. They just want to see some dozers and some excavators moving,” he said.

“It’s time for the states to take our hand. This isn’t about blame, it’s about help and we are here to help.

“It will give this community water security, and I say to all levels of government, it’s time to get out of the way. It’s time for local government to partner with us, it’s time for state governments to get the approvals in place.”

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said he was pleased with the State Government’s willingness to fast track necessary approvals.

“When the first shovel goes into the ground, it’ll be a catalyst for change on the mainland to build dams,” he said.

“If there’s one thing (coronavirus) has shown us, mining resources and agriculture, it’s held up.

“It’s created jobs and opportunities, and infrastructure will too.”

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and deputy PM Michael McCormack were happy to jump on the dozer to begin earthworks.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and deputy PM Michael McCormack were happy to jump on the dozer to begin earthworks.
Stanthorpe Border Post

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