Federal Dams Task Group to develop new vision for water infrastructure in South West Queensland

Senator Barnaby Joyce

The Coalition Dams and Water Management Task Group will visit south west Queensland this week to help develop a new dams vision and ways to mitigate the impact of floods.

Tony Abbott established the Task Group in January last year following the floods in late 2010 and early 2011.

The Deputy Chair of the Task Group, and Shadow Minister for Water, Senator Barnaby Joyce, will host the group on their tour of South West Queensland.

“Australia not only can, but must have the vision to construct the infrastructure that gives us the capacity to create the agricultural, industrial and mining wealth for our future. There are vast opportunities in south west Queensland for expanded horticulture in particular. Dams can help spur that economic development” said Senator Barnaby Joyce.

“In my home town we have been flooded three times in two years. Other areas have been even more impacted by the recent floods. It’s time to look ahead and show the vision to make sure the next floods are not as damaging.”

The Task Group will visit St George, Roma, Mitchell and Stanthorpe to hear from local governments and individuals about how best the Federal Government in Canberra can help deliver better water infrastructure.

Federal LNP Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott submitted a proposal for funding to examine the feasibility of a Bungil Creek dam to the Task Force.

“I’d like to see funding to conduct a feasibility and viability study into the project which could also double as a flood mitigation for Roma,” Mr Scott said.
Maranoa Mayor Rob Loughnan said, “The option of a dam on the Bungil Creek, ten kilometres north of Roma, should be looked at again. Not only could that dam have a positive effect in diversifying the local agricultural product, it would be a sensation for recreational users and would certainly make Roma immune to the types of major floods we have seen over the past three years. Having said that, we still need to urgently push ahead with the more conventional strategies that will get us results quickly.”

Commerce Roma President, and candidate for Maranoa Regional Council, Cameron O’Neil said that, “It is essential that given the recent flooding events, the future council identifies a number of mitigation methods and if one of these is a dam, that can capture and slow the flow of water, then it is a method worth investigating. I welcome the Dams Task Group to the region and look forward to meeting with them.”

Andrew Robb, the Shadow Minister for Finance will also visit the region on the tour. As the Chair of the Dams Task Group he has been particularly impressed by the work put in by local groups to proposals for more dams as he has travelled around Australia in the past year.

“It is the local people on the ground who best know their patch in relation to such things as hydrology and sites most vulnerable to floods. The guiding principle of our work is to look at those opportunities which can bring both economic and social benefits to local communities. A single project can assist with flood mitigation, the expansion of agriculture and recreation making it a highly valued local asset,” Mr Robb said.

The Task Group has so far visited every state of Australia and will release an interim report shortly