State KAP Leader and member for Traeger Robbie Katter says the Boondooma Dam crisis is a wakeup call for the Labor Government to commit to much needed water infrastructure investment in regional Queensland.
“This has been a long standing issue ignored by successive governments for way too long,’’ Mr Katter said.
“Now we see another water crisis for our regions. Sadly, it’s not the first time farmers have had to put their faith in the weather instead of the government.
“There are incredible wealth-creating business opportunities for irrigators in regional Queensland that would invigorate local economies and create jobs with the right government support.
“The government has really fallen asleep at the wheel on water infrastructure. We have seen one new dam built in Queensland in the last 29 years.
“Successive governments have chosen to ignore growing populations and increased food production and it’s getting harder and harder for farmers to produce without investment and infrastructure support from the Labor Government.
“The situation with Mundubbera and the Boondooma Dam is typical of the current Labor Government. They are willing to risk the jobs of over 500 people and the future of the town Mundubbera so electricity can be supplied to Brisbane.
“What was their Plan B to deal with this contingency? Trucking in water from Paradise Dam is just not economically feasible for farmers.
“The Government needs to change the legislation that says the power plant gets first crack at the water.’’
Falling water levels at the Boondooma Dam are forecast to shortly hit 30 per cent capacity, at which point the Government will refuse access to irrigators so there is enough water to operate the Government owned Tarong Power Station which supplies electricity to southeast Queensland.
North Burnett Regional Councillor Robbie Radel said farmers are being forced to deal with ridiculous vegetation management laws and now they’re losing water.
“The government is sitting by just giving lip service to the regions,’’ Mr Radel said.
“There is 100,000 mega litres of unused water just sitting in the Paradise Dam on the Burnett River which is primarily used for recreational use.
“The location of this dam was wrong from the beginning and now we see how it is impossible to pipe this unused water upriver to irrigators in critical need.
“Irrigators can’t afford to pay the price for trucking in water. If it gets to a stage when irrigators believe their only choice is to close shop until water becomes available again we will 500 jobs disappear in the blink of an eye.’’