The Queensland Government will be committing up to $600 million to rebuild Paradise Dam, located near Bundaberg, to its original height – creating around 250 jobs during construction.
Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said the project will cost up to $1.2 billion in total.
“Our $600 million investment in Paradise Dam is a game changer for the families and farmers here in Bundaberg,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“We know this project will deliver water security and safety for the people of Bundaberg. Now it’s time to get on with the job.
“Returning Paradise Dam to its original height and reinforcing the wall will deliver long-term water security for the region and keep communities located further downstream safe.
“This rebuild will also support thousands of long-term jobs and deliver significant flow-on benefits for local businesses and contractors, making it an important initiative in the economic recovery of this region.
“We’re working closely with the Federal Government to secure funding for this project.
“But let me be clear – regardless of Federal support, I am fully committed to rebuilding Paradise Dam.
“The Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith has been a tireless advocate for this project.”
Ms Palaszczuk said that the announcement is proof of the government’s commitment to the people of Bundaberg and is a testament to Mr Smith’s hard work.
Queensland Deputy Premier, Steven Miles, said returning Paradise Dam to full capacity will bring it back to its full 300,000ML capacity.
“We always said we would prioritise safety and investigate the best option for the Wide Bay community, and that is exactly what we’ve done,” Mr Miles said.
“This investment will deliver long-term water security for irrigators and create jobs in the region.
“It’s now time for the Federal Government to put their words into action and allocate their share of funding towards the project.”
Queensland Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water, Glenn Butcher, said he would continue to work with the Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Government on a collaborative funding approach for the rebuild.
“I’ve had some really good discussions with the Deputy Prime Minister and we’re getting close to hammering out a funding deal,” Mr Butcher said.
“This project is ready to go with early construction works starting as soon as next year. There’s no reason to delay this project which is why we’re kick starting it with this injection of funds.
“We know we have the best solution and now that there’s real money on the table, we will be working around the clock to get this project up and running.
“I look forward to the Federal Government formalising their verbal commitments to financially support this project.”
Investigations have shown that a combination of buttressing the dam and significant improvements to the spillways, apron and new training walls will strengthen and stabilise the dam when it is restored to full capacity.
Member for Bundaberg, Tom Smith, said this funding showed the Queensland Government was serious about getting the rebuild done as soon as possible.
“It was only at the end of last year that we released the options report and now to have the Premier and Minister here in Bundaberg with real funding already is a massive step forward,” Mr Smith said.
“This commitment will not only ensure the safety of Paradise Dam, but ensure the water security needed for our growers to continue to invest in their industry and create the high-tech, high-skilled and high-wages jobs for locals.”
Mr Butcher and Mr Smith confirmed in 2021 that irrigators would not be asked to pay the cost of restoring the dam to full capacity.
As well as meeting the stringent safety criteria with which all dams in Australia must comply, demand studies have shown that the re-raised dam will have sufficient capacity to meet the region’s need for water for decades to come, even with the potential impacts of climate change.
The next stage of the project includes progressing the design and delivery methodology, early contractor engagement and procurement activities necessary before construction can commence.
A detailed project timeframe is being developed and early works will commence in 2023.