The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has welcomed a report into disaster preparedness and planning for a possible future flood event affecting the Paradise Dam in the Burnett River system released today.
The Inspector-General Emergency Management’s Paradise Dam Preparedness Review found comprehensive flood studies, modelling and mapping, evacuation planning and exercises have been undertaken at the local and district level in the Bundaberg and North Burnett regions.
However, while the report noted strong interest in the local community about the potential impacts of lowering the dam on primary producers, highlighting the significant role that agriculture plays in the region, this was deemed to be outside the scope of the review’s terms of reference.
QFF CEO Dr Georgina Davis said while community safety was paramount, growers needed assurance that existing water allocations would be guaranteed into the future and that there would be future water available for the already committed permanent plantings and identified agricultural development.
“Bundaberg and its surrounds are a rich food growing region, already serviced through significant investment in infrastructure and with good access to markets, that contribute to ensure Queensland and the nation’s food security,” Dr Davis said.
“So, it is imperative to raise community understanding of the flood risk associated with Paradise Dam through better information sharing, collaboration and utilisation of flood modelling between the dam operator, SunWater and local governments.”
Growers in the region are now waiting for the results of the Commission of Inquiry, expected to be released by 30 April 2020, into the structural and stability issues with Paradise Dam identified in engineering and technical studies and to what extent, the governance, processes and systems involved in the design, construction or commissioning of the Dam contributed to the issues.
“The release of the report examining structural and stability issues with Paradise Dam and associated material must be as timely and as transparent as the report on the Paradise Dam Preparedness Review released today,” Dr Davis said.