SOUTHERN DOWNS REGIONAL COUNCIL MEDIA STATEMENT: 27 November 2020
Southern Downs Regional Council considered its ongoing cooperation with the Emu Swamp Dam project at this week's Ordinary Meeting, and after working through a number of matters arising from a request from the Granite Belt Irrigation Project (GBIP), voted in favour of supporting the project to access Council land for a pipeline investigation and approach the Queensland Government to purchase a parcel of land.
As the project progresses and options are evaluated, GBIP's proposed footprint identified a potential route for a pipeline which would cross Council land in Applethorpe and the group requested permission to evaluate the suitability of the proposed alignment by conducting ecological, heritage and geotechnical investigations.
Council was also asked to consider if there were any concerns or objection to GBIP pursuing the potential purchase of a State Government-owned Reserve for Water located near to the proposed dam wall location. Council offered no objection to discussions commencing with the State to purchase this land.
Councillor Stephen Tancred was pleased to support the resolutions and said it was great to see progress on this important water security project for the Southern Downs.
"The resolutions we are dealing with today are planning and land issues, and may be seen as just 'bread and butter' issues," Councillor Tancred said at the meeting.
"I see the resolutions as a fantastic opportunity for Council to provide tangible and public support to the project. Residents will hopefully hear today that Council is considering all stakeholders and is taking a 'can-do' attitude to assist the project.
"With a potential 700 new jobs, and a $68m injection to our economy each year on the table, there are enormous benefits for the whole region with this project.
"As a Council we will obviously meet all our regulatory and statutory obligations with the development, but we should also find ways to be supportive and be seen to be supportive.
"The last substantiative Council resolution on the dam was 30 June 2020. It enabled our officers, the project team and the Queensland Government to interact positively and progress many of the steps required to get things done.
"Successive Councils invested $2.61m from 1984 to 2014. We thought it was a good idea to spend money then, so why shouldn't we continue to give the project a leg-up and not a road block?"
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