Emu Swamp Dam progress caught in more political crossfire
SOUTHERN Downs producers have been left in the lurch as the highly-anticipated Emu Swamp Dam becomes a tool of political power, according to fresh allegations.
Southern Downs Labor candidate Joel Richters has criticised the LNP, particularly the Morrison Government, for "misleading people" over the Palaszczuk Government's role in the dam's delay.
"They have been saying for ages that the State Government is following up, following up, or Littleproud's favourite line that he's 'cut the cheque', but the Federal Government only gave the funding agreement to the Palaszczuk Government on September 9," Mr Richters said told the Warwick Daily News last Wednesday.
According to Mr Richters, the State Government was just able to get the agreement through department checks before it went into caretaker mode before the upcoming October 31 vote.
"Regardless of the election result, we want to see this dam get going," Mr Richters said.
"When Emu Swamp Dam proponents approached the state government last October for a grant to get them started, the Palaszczuk Labor Government backed them.
"Not only has the state Labor government supported Emu Swamp Dam, they have continued to support the whole Southern Downs region with ongoing drought assistance measures"
But Mr Littleproud refused to admit any hold up on the behalf of the Morrison Government.
"Any delay in construction starting on Emu Swamp Dam lie at the feet of the Qld government. They refused for nearly 12 months to commit any funding or commence the approval process after the federal government committed $47m and growers more than $23m," Mr Littleproud said.
"They need to stop playing politics and allow construction to begin, people are sick of their games."
It comes as the project officially secures funding from all levels of government and irrigators.
At this stage work on the 12,000ML irrigation dam is expected to commence at the start of 2021 and completed by 2023.
Mr Richters was visiting the dam with Shadow Minister for Water Terri Butler in a fresh call to kickstart the project which would provide 700 full-time jobs for the region.
"We've been waiting for this for more than 12 months now," he said.
"Before (the Morrison Government) were elected, they said they would build 100 dams, but so far big zero," Ms Butler added.