Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has announced the Federal Government will contribute $600 million to restore Paradise Dam to its full capacity, securing the Bundaberg region’s water future.
This follows the Premier's announcement on Tuesday the State Government will fund half of the $1.2 billion project.
Mr Joyce said uncertainty over the dam's future had hurt local producers, caused job losses and reduced investment in the region.
“Returning the dam to its full 300,000-megalitre capacity will give farmers, businesses and households confidence they will have access to the water they need in the decades ahead,” he said.
“Farmers in the region have spent the last two years in limbo, worrying if they’ll have the water they need to support and grow their businesses into the future.”
Mr Joyce said the investment would help provide the water security the region needs while supporting 250 construction jobs and unlocking new and expanded opportunities for farmers and businesses.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk welcomed the announcement.
“I absolutely thank the Federal Government,” she said.
“On Tuesday, I was up in Bundaberg announcing $600 million for the Paradise Dam and we heard overnight that the federal government is going to match our $600 million.
“That's now $1.2 billion. We can get on, fix that dam, build it up and that has water security and safety for that region for many generations to come.
“I just want to acknowledge that funding. And it's great to see within a week, $1.2 billion.”
Member for Hinkler and Federal Water Minister, Keith Pitt, said the works are crucial to boost jobs and economic opportunities.
“While I am pleased that we are able to deliver the money that’s necessary, it breaks my heart to think that this funding could have gone to a new Level 5 hospital for Bundaberg or to an upgrade of the Maryborough-Bundaberg section of the Bruce Highway,” he said.
State pledges $600m for Paradise Dam rebuild
TUESDAY 8 FEBRUARY: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk took to her Facebook page this morning to announce State Government funding of $600 million.
“Paradise Dam, on the beautiful Burnett River 80km south-west of Bundaberg, will hold a whopping 300,000 megalitres of water when restored to full capacity,” she said.
“The rebuild would be a gamechanger for the people of Bundaberg and the Wide Bay, providing water security and safety for communities downstream.”
Ms Palaszczuk the initial phase of the Dam’s rebuild will deliver 250 construction jobs and provide significant flow-on benefits for local businesses and contractors, making it an important initiative in the economic recovery of the Wide Bay region.
Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey said it was good news for the community and Australia.
“I welcome the commitment of Government funding for this important project,” he said.
“Rebuilding Paradise Dam is not only essential for the Bundaberg Region, it’s vitally important for Australia’s food security.
“We live in one of the most productive agricultural areas in the world, with an ideal growing climate and highly skilled producers.
“The dam wall had to be fixed for safety reasons. It now needs to be repaired as quickly as possible.”
Bundaberg MP Tom Smith said the funding commitment would ensure growers had the confidence to continue to invest into an industry that invests in the region.
“This is an announcement to make sure our community is safe; our water security is there for the future and that the agriculture and horticulture industries will continue to create jobs in the Bundaberg Region,” he said.