Tenders to design and construct critical water infrastructure assets as part of the Granite Belt Irrigation Project (GBIP) are being released in the coming weeks, in what is a key milestone for the construction of Emu Swamp Dam.

GBIP is a landmark infrastructure development for the Granite Belt region and will provide a 12,000 megalitre dam at Emu Swamp, south-west of Stanthorpe, and 126km of pipeline. It will also deliver water to almost 50 customers and bring wide-reaching benefits to the region.

The Irrigation Distribution Network and Associated Works Design and Construct Tender will open on 30 April for eight weeks, with a budget of $28.4 million, while the Dam Design and Construct Tender will be released on 18 May for ten weeks, with a budget of $23.4 million.  

The construction phase of the project will commence in late 2021, keeping it on track to be operational by the end of 2023.

GBIP CEO, Lloyd Taylor, said the tender release was a significant step toward breaking ground on Emu Swamp Dam.

“The project is proud to release the Dam and Irrigation Distribution Network and Associated Works Design and Construct Tender in a major step closer to starting construction,” Mr Taylor said. 

“This project has the potential to transform the region and will deliver greater water security and economic prosperity to the community, including through the creation of 250 jobs during construction and 700 permanent jobs to the Southern Downs once complete.

“While the concept of Emu Swamp Dam has been in development for 20 to 30 years, GBIP has progressed a Detailed Business Case, raised and committed capital, designed the project and reached the point of delivering design and construct tenders in just over two years.”

GBIP operates under, and is funded by, a unique model whereby it is managed by a community-owned entity, Granite Belt Water (GBW), and is not wholly government funded, allowing streamlined presentation of the tenders to market.

“Around 28 per cent of the cost of the scheme is funded by customers who live and work in the community and will directly benefit from the project, making it the highest proportion of private investment in water infrastructure in Queensland’s history,” Mr Taylor said.

“This tender release is also unique in that it is the first time in Queensland both the design and construct components have been included in the one tender, meaning the company which designs the infrastructure will also construct it.

“The project has adopted this model, which has been tried and tested in Tasmania, where it has proven to be the most efficient model to deliver high-quality water infrastructure developments. 

“We are confident this can be replicated in Queensland and have engaged a number of key team members, who were instrumental in delivering several Tasmanian water infrastructure projects designed and constructed under this model.” 

The open call for tenders will be subject to an industry-standard probity procedure to ensure integrity is maintained throughout the process and will require tenderers to have accreditation with the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner. 

Companies interested in tendering for the project can register their interest via email at, using the subject line: TENDER REGISTRATION, and relevant information can be found on the Granite Belt Irrigation Project website

“With water security and community prosperity at the core of the project, I encourage residents and business owners in the Southern Downs to reach out if they have any questions or would like more information on this latest development,” Mr Taylor said. 

Community members can receive the most accurate and up-to-date information on progress through the Granite Belt Irrigation Project website or can speak directly with the GBIP team by visiting the Project Office at 3/35 Maryland Street, Stanthorpe.

The Federal and Queensland governments are jointly funding the Emu Swamp Dam project. 

The Federal Government, through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund, has committed $42 million toward the delivery of the project.

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