MEDIA RELEASE 6TH FEBRUARY 2013
“LNP CONFUSION OVER FLOOD DAMS “
The Newman government seems to be confused over the potential for dams to be used as a means of flood proofing Queensland, yesterday we had the Flood recovery Minister David Chrisafuli on ABC wide bay regional radio, and in the Courier Mail today ,launching an extraordinary emotional blackmail attack and implying that what he termed, “crazy green anti dam groups’, were responsible for the flooding impacts , due to an absence of Dams , and today we have Qld Water Supply Minister Mark Mcardle stating that flood mitigation dams are not the answer! http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-06/army-seeks-to-boost-bundaberg-community-spirit/4503292?section=business
“Minister Chrisafuli needs to focus on helping the people of Bundaberg, this could be achieved by agreeing to set up transparent community stakeholder assessment groups in all catchments , to look at the options, , rather than playing the blame game , besides the majority of anti Traveston Dam citizens , were LNP voters , are these the people the Minister is referring to? , said President and Water Policy Officer Roger Currie ,
In responding to ABC news inquiries yesterday, the Queensland Water Supply Minister states that “to my understanding there was nothing in the way the Paradise dam was operated to add to the flood.” Is this an accurate statement of the situation?, not quite .
It appears that the Newman government is attempting reactive policy rather than honest proactive policy, which is understandable given the current situation.
What should be of concern specifically for the community of Bundaberg, is that the Paradise Dam on the Burnett River, which holds 330, 000 MGL , was full before the recent flood , because it has no operational capacity to release water , as its operational systems were compromised during the January 2011 floods and are yet to be repaired , ‘so even if Sunwater had wanted to release water from the dam , they could not do so’, despite the fact that the dam is designed to release 12,000 MGL/day, said Roger Currie
On the 8th August 2012 , WBBEC attended a meeting in Minister Mcardle’s office along with Sunwater , DAFF , NRWM, and DEHP senior officers, and we were informed that Paradise Dam has no operational capacity to release water , due to the control systems being destroyed during the 2011 floods and that the repair bill could be >$6M ( http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/Id/80096)
To be fair and objective, the Newman government have inherited this white Elephant , as Paradise Dam was an ill conceived Peter Beattie government political project , specifically designed to win the seat of Bundaberg at the 1999 election , a pre ‘Traveston Dam’ warm up, you might say , by the former Labour Premier. The project manager for both Paradise and Traveston dams was Graeme Newton , CEO of the Qld flood reconstruction Authority http://www.qldreconstruction.org.au/about/biographies .
Given that the Queensland Water Supply Minister has admitted that, “It may well be that when we do assess Paradise Dam and other dams in the Sunwater network we’ll find ways to have them better serve the community”, WBBEC looks forward to being a key player in that assessment.
The key legitimate questions now are;
- If Paradise Dam was empty , what would have been the effect on flood levels at Bundaberg North?, and
- Did the residents of North Bundaberg, have a right to know that Paradise Dam could not /cannot release water?
- Were the control systems set above anticipated Q100 and Q200 flood levels?
- Was there a duty of care requirement to notify the Bundaberg community?
Whilst ‘flood proofing’ the town of Bundaberg is worth investigating, attempts to hold back flood waters in the Burnett system , may remove significant agricultural production, and any proposal to modify or construct dams in the Burnett River , is subject to EPBC ACT 1999 regulation and compliance due to the presence of Queensland lungfish , “ the fishways on Paradise Dam have not operated since Jan 2011 and now the Dams operational system may have been further compromised by the recent flood which went within 1 m of overtopping the dam wall, any flood mitigation proposals for dams in the Burnett , will have to ‘run the gauntlet’ of the Federal legislation , and this will be fraught with risk for the Newman government’ , said Roger .
“Rather than wasting huge amounts of money on ‘flood dam consultancies’ as was done for Traveston Dam , WBBEC’s position is that, what may serve the community of Bundaberg best , is a relocation plan for urban areas which have been effected”, said Roger .
For more information contact