Bundaberg Region stakeholders say the State Government has under-estimated the economic value of Paradise Dam and should review the advice it's received.
Industry and local government representatives want the dam’s capacity reinstated after necessary repairs are made.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said community safety is paramount, but the region’s economic prosperity should not be compromised because of flawed construction.
“The bottom line is that Paradise Dam should continue to retain the volume of water it was originally built for,” he said.
“Investors have made decisions based on the availability of water and future investments are literally in the pipeline.
“We can’t afford to risk public safety but nor can we put community wellbeing and people’s livelihoods at risk.”
The consortium comprises Bundaberg Regional Council, Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils, Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett, Bundaberg Canegrowers, Canegrowers Isis, and Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers.
They commissioned a report by Adept Economics last year on the Economic Costs of Inaction on Paradise Dam.
The report estimates a $2.4 billion hit to the regional economy over the next 30 years, including social impacts.
Analysis for Building Queensland questioned some of the report’s findings and assumptions.
In reply, Adept Economics says that while further research is needed, Building Queensland has been too pessimistic in its outlook for the regional economy.
“Consultation has indicated macadamia crops are anticipated to triple over the next 10 years,” their supplementary report states.
“The recent and predicted scale of investment in macadamias is underpinned by the water security provided by the Paradise Dam.
“It’s anticipated that the availability of land will inevitably run out and further investment in channel infrastructure will be required to expand the reach of water from the Paradise Dam into non-irrigated areas adjacent to existing irrigated agriculture footprint.
“This investment will further pave the way for greenfield macadamia crops.”
Canegrowers Isis chairman Mark Mammino said the combined stakeholders stand by their modelling and say Paradise Dam should be restored to its full supply level.
“The magnitude of benefit easily exceeds the current most likely cost estimate of $800 million for restoring the Paradise Dam to its full capacity,” he said.
“Regional stakeholders insist that Building Queensland respect these genuine concerns and consult in a transparent and cooperative way during the development of the detailed business case.”
Bree Grima, from Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers, said water security is absolutely crucial to regional agriculture and to the future prosperity of the Bundaberg Region.
“There has already been far too much murkiness and hidden agendas associated with this dam and it needs to stop now,” she said.
To read the supplementary report click here.
Sunwater says Paradise Dam unsafe
Sunwater says the condition of the Roller Compacted Concrete lift joints is one of the key issues with Paradise Dam.
“Under very large pressure, like the 2013 flood event, the dam wall could shear, or effectively come apart,” the government owned corporation announced on Facebook.
“Lowering the wall will reduce the pressure on it and make it less likely to fail.”