The proposed Emu Swamp Dam in Queensland’s Granite Belt region has received a $6 million funding advance which will allow Granite Belt Water to progress with early pre-construction activities.
Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said the State Government has already committed $13.6 million to this project but the proponent asked for a special advance from those funds and she obliged.
“Emu Swamp Dam could provide up to 3900ML of water every year to local farmers,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“That means jobs – jobs in Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt. It means young people and families staying in the region, putting their pay packets through the local stores, and sending their kids to the school.”
Natural Resources Minister, Dr Anthony Lynham, said the advance would allow Granite Belt Water to develop and release tender documents for design and construction, fund contracts with irrigators and start work to meet the conditions associated with the total funding for the project.
Granite Belt Water Chairman, Dan Hunt, said the announcement was welcome news to the proponent and local irrigators.
“This is the essential seed funding we need to progress initial activities and get this project rolling,” Mr Hunt said.
“The funds for pre-construction activities will help us meet the conditions on the rest of the funding and potentially progress a project that would deliver 700 permanent new jobs in the region, along with 250 jobs in construction.
“With this funding, Granite Belt Water expects a final decision could be made on the commercial feasibility of the project by October 2020.”
Granite Belt Water proposes an $84 million dam on the Severn River near Stanthorpe to provide water to local farms via a 117km pipe network. The distribution network will include solar power generation and large‑scale battery storage to power the pumps.
Usually, a proponent would fund works and receive reimbursement from the state. However, Ms Palaszczuk said she recognised the challenges Granite Belt Water faced in advancing this project.
“The Granite Belt has been doing it tough, but some dams are filling and there are smiles on people’s faces again,” Ms Palaszczuk said.