Advocacy | Paradise Dam

Please join us as we advocate for remediation of Paradise Dam 

As growers, irrigators and business owners we are very concerned about the safety of our community, we are also concerned with the long-term viability of our community, jobs for our community and investment in and development of our region.

It is our belief that options for remediation on Paradise Dam need to be explored further. Our region, your business and your family cannot afford for our dam’s capacity to be reduced on the basis of testing not being comprehensive enough. 

Please help us capture the importance of Paradise Dam to your business by filling out this short survey which will assist in the economic impact analysis that is being co-funded by Bundaberg Regional Council, Canegrowers Bundaberg and Isis and Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers.

If you are a macadamia grower we are seeking further information to guage water requirements for this expanding industry. Please capture your current and forward planting requirements here

The three peak Industry representive organisations; BFVG and Canegrowers Bundaberg and Isis have united to actively work together to address the issues surrounding Paradise Dam. Whist we are individually progressing industry specific views our agreed advocacy positions are captured in this Joint Industry Statement

To be part of the conversation and join the mailing list for specific Paradise Dam Advocacy please email bree.grima@bfvg.com.au

Support Paradise Dam Advocacy

Paradise Dam Fund - Trust Account

Trust Held by MRH Lawyers on behalf of BFVG

Name:  MRH Lawyers Law Practice Trust Account
Bank:  Commonwealth Bank of Australia
BSB: 064 403
Account: 1089 1119
Reference: 776389 plus your name

Important note: These bank details are correct and current; never accept an email message advisin the account details have changed, Trust Account numbers have been targeted recently by Hacking events.

BFVG Paradise Dam Subcommittee Members

  • Bree Grima (BFVG Managing Director) Email |  bree.grima@bfvg.com.au Phone 0403 616 702
  • Allan Mahoney (BFVG Chairman) 
  • Tina & Bruce McPherson 
  • Craig Van Rooyen
  • Andrew Lewis 
  • Jamie Hansen
  • Scott Allcott
  • Derek Foley 
  • Kevin Steinhardt
  • Lachalan Donovan
  • Michael McMahon
  • John Dorrian

 
MEDIA RELEASE

22 May, 2020
For immediate release 

No escape clause in Commission of Inquiry report

There should be an immediate halt of works to tear down the Paradise Dam wall.

The Commission of Inquiry Report into Paradise Dam agrees with expert opinion that more testing is needed to resolve doubts about the dam’s stability and doesn’t provide the Government an escape clause from its obligation to restore the dam to Full Service Level.

The call for further testing is consistent with the views of Dr Paul Rizzo and confirms the position taken by the Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers.

The Commission’s Report says the only uncertainty about the dam’s stability is in a flood event much larger than in 2011 and 2013 when it proved stable.

Critically the report raises doubt about the necessity to reduce the Paradise Dam wall to carry out works on the apron and spillway while the water level is lowered to 42%.

The Government shouldn’t waste $100 million tearing down the wall when more testing is urgently needed.

Paradise Dam must be returned to Full Supply Level to guarantee the economic future of the thriving Bundaberg region.

END

For comment contact BFVG Managing Director Bree Grima 0741533 007 or 0403 616 702 

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MEDIA RELEASE

24th April 2020
For immediate release 

The Facts about Paradise Dam in Queensland

PARADISE DAM: THESE ARE THE FACTS
  • The spillway and apron needs to be repaired. No-one disputes this.
  • The dam wall does not have to be lowered to carry out these repairs.
  • International experts in RCC dams agree that the wall does not need to be lowered and have told the Commission of Inquiry that this is the case.
  • Nothing should be done to the dam wall until all testing is complete.
  • Even the government and Sunwater agree that more testing is required.
  • Other large RCC dams around the world have faced similar problems without major failure and have been remedied within reasonable cost.
  • The government must guarantee that the dam will be returned to full capacity to secure the full economic future of the Bundaberg region.
Agriculture is a foundation industry for the local economy and Paradise Dam underpins the health of the sector. If there is no water, there is no crop and no income and that affects every business in the region.

Three in four non-irrigated businesses believe water security is extremely important to their business and believe their income is intrinsically linked to grower activity.

Each megalitre of water capacity lost at Paradise Dam leads to a lost production value of $48,100 per megalitre across the region. Already Paradise Dam’s capacity has been cut to 42% and options are being considered to cut it even further.

The region cannot afford that lost value: it will lead to a loss of businesses and jobs.

The economic and social dislocation caused by an economic shock created by a reduced water supply should not be tolerated.

Global experts say stated safety fears about Paradise Dam, which have seen its capacity cut, have been exaggerated and they are “99 percent convinced” that the dam wall is stable.

International dam expert, Dr Paul Rizzo, who gave evidence at the Commission of Inquiry into Paradise Dam says any assumed problem can be fixed at a reasonable cost without lowering the dam wall.

Growers, local businesses, and international investors want a signal from the government that the dam will be restored to full capacity. Paradise Dam is vital economic infrastructure that is designed to drought proof the region.

If Brisbane’s Cross River tunnel needed repairs and was reduced to 42 percent of its capacity the government would not hesitate to reopen it to full capacity when the repairs were complete.

What is the difference between that and Paradise Dam which is also critical economic and social  infrastructure?

If the government fails to full restore capacity what message does that send to other key infrastructure facilities across the state?

See full page advertisement here due to appear in the Newsmail tomorrow, Saturday 25th April. 

END

For comment contact BFVG Managing Director Bree Grima 41533 007, 0403 616 702.


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MEDIA RELEASE

17 April, 2020
For immediate release 

No Water, No Crop, No Income

Agriculture is a foundational industry for the local economy and the health of the sector is dependent on water security.

If there is no water, there is no crop and no income and that affects every business in the region.

Research by Adept Economics reveals that three in four non-irrigated businesses believe water security is extremely important to their businesses. Moreover, these businesses believe their income is intrinsically linked to grower activity.

“Irrigated agriculture has a significant value-chain both upstream and downstream including nurseries, sugar mills, transport operators; packaging providers, ports, planting and harvesting contractors, fuel distributors, fertiliser and chemical retailers, farm machinery retailers, irrigation equipment suppliers, and accountants and insurance brokers”, Adept reports.

“As an example of this value chain - one dollar in economic activity in cane growing supports an additional $6.40 elsewhere in the economy.”

Currently, there is a pipeline of $4.2 billion of projects which are estimated to support 3,200 jobs, according to the Invest in Bundaberg 2020 prospectus.

The Bundaberg region needs these jobs. Unemployment currently stands at 7.9 percent compared with the state average of 6.1 percent.

The social dislocation caused by an economic shock due to reduction in water security would have disastrous long term impacts given that Bundaberg region already has a disproportionate level of social disadvantage.

Paradise Dam is intrinsic to the economic future of the region. Each megalitre of water capacity lost equates to approximately $14,000 of value lost.

Paradise Dam must be fully remediated if the region is to fully utilise its economic potential to grow the agriculture sector, downstream businesses and the jobs that go with it.

Failure to do so is to condemn the region to increased social dislocation which is unacceptable.

See full page advertisement here due to appear in the Newsmail tomorrow, Saturday 18th April.

END

For comment contact BFVG Managing Director Bree Grima 0741533 007 or 0403 616 702 


DOWNLOADABLE PDF

MEDIA RELEASE
15th April 2020
For immediate release 

WANTON ECONOMIC DESTRUCTION NOT A REAL OPTION

The wanton economic destruction of value that would flow from a failure to fully remediate the Paradise Dam is not an option.

Paradise Dam has a minimum economic asset life of 50 years and has only been in operation for just 15 years.

Unless fully remediated without any unnecessary lowering of the dam wall, Bundaberg region will be stripped of at least 35 years of economic expansion.

That means not only will farmers suffer from lost opportunity, but also local businesses that rely on the growth supplied by the dam’s significant contribution to water security.

Water is the economic life blood of the region; it not only supports farmers but the economic backbone of Bundaberg.

Instead of pulling the dam down, government of any colour should be looking at expanding the irrigation network to grow the region and underpin the economic output associated with a guaranteed supply of water.

Investment has surged in the region due to the Paradise Dam. This should not be put under threat by a failure to fully remediate the dam.

Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister, Dr Anthony Lynham, said yesterday that "Testing and investigations will continue this year, including: geotechnical investigations of the dam's foundations, anchoring trials, and additional testing of the roller compacted concrete.”

Until those investigations are complete, it is nothing but wanton destruction of an economic asset to propose to dismantle the dam wall, after independent experts told the Commission of Inquiry into Paradise Dam that previous testing was ‘suspect’ and safety issues had been overstated.

Global geotechnical expert Dr Paul Rizzo said an alarmist atmosphere had evolved over safety of the dam without adequate basis and the issues could be remediated at reasonable cost, as done at other major dams around the world without lowering it by five metres. 

END

For comment contact BFVG Managing Director Bree Grima 07) 41533 007 or 0403 616 702


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MEDIA RELEASE

THURSDAY 9 April, 2020
Embargoed 4pm Friday 10th April, 2020

COMMISSION TOLD: "NO NEED FOR EXTREME MEASURES TO FIX PARADISE DAM"

Bundaberg irrigators are asking why the State Government and the Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr 
Anthony Lynham, MP are determined to lower the Paradise Dam wall despite independent expert evidence which indicates safety issues have been overstated.

Several world leaders in construction of major water storage and dam projects have presented evidence to the Commission of Inquiry into Paradise Dam including geotechnical expert Dr Paul Rizzo, who said data indicating problems was “inadequate, misleading and insufficient to assess the integrity and safety of Paradise Dam.” In a supplementary report ‘Assessment of Dam Safety Issues’, Dr Rizzo says an alarmist atmosphere has evolved over the safety of the dam without adequate basis.

His report says:
• Allegations of defective construction practices are unproven
• Test data used to assess the properties of the dam wall are inadequate. New testing is required
• The dam is “distressed” but highly unlikely to experience catastrophic failure
• The issues can be remediated at reasonable cost, as done at other dams around the world
• Corrective engineering actions should be measured, not extreme or dramatically disruptive

At the final hearing of the Commission in Brisbane this week, another global authority on RCC dams, Dr Ernest Schrader, also questioned the validity of testing used to assess the stability of the dam and said he was “99 percent sure… that there isn’t a problem”. Dr Schrader said the results of the tests Sunwater relied on were “suspect” and no dam of similar construction in the world had shown such results.

Dr Schrader said the testing appeared to have been performed on core samples that had been taken apart and put back together and said that while cores tested showed faults “that’s not what’s in the dam”. Dr Schrader urged the Commission to review the recommendations in Dr Rizzo’s report. In defence of the region’s water security and the need to repair rather than reduce the dam, irrigators are launching a campaign to explain and gain support to ‘Save the Paradise Dam’.

A full page advertisement initiating the campaign appears in this Saturday’s edition of the Bundaberg NewsMail newspaper. No one disputes the need for repairs to Paradise Dam. They are essential. However, there are no ifs, buts or excuses. The dam has to be restored to full capacity.

END

For comment contact BFVG Managing Director Bree Grima 0403 616 702 or 07) 41533 007

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MEDIA RELEASE

Monday 6th April 2020
For immediate release 

Time for Tough Questions about Paradise Dam

Second generation Childers farmer, John Dorrian, is calling on his fellow farmers to start asking more questions when it comes to the future of Paradise Dam.

“There are lot of long-term farming families in the Bundaberg and Childers region” Mr Dorrian said “who remember their forefathers fighting hard to access a secure supply of irrigation water”.

“Many of us grew up with stories of the dryland farming days and we know how hard it was to be a farmer in those days” Mr Dorrian said.

“It’s thanks to the tireless efforts of the farmers who came before us that Paradise Dam was built” Mr Dorrian said “After thirty years of our forefathers fighting for a dam on the Burnett River, are we ready to go back to farming without a secure water supply?”.

Mr Dorrian was part of the Isis Canegrowers executive in the 1980's and remembers all too well the endless meetings and delegations with government lobbying for a secure irrigation scheme for the district.

 “While many Childers farmers started drilling for bores and building on-farm dams in the 1960's and '70's, it wasn’t until the irrigation scheme was finished in late 2005 that we really began to appreciate the full benefits of secure water” Mr Dorrian said.

“After the hard-won battle to get the dam built, why aren’t local irrigators demanding more answers about the real situation with the wall of Paradise Dam?” Mr Dorrian said.

“The Commission of Inquiry into Paradise Dam raised a lot of questions about the testing that’s been done to date” Mr Dorrian said “and the comment from Dr Schrader about the dam being ‘almost certainly stable’ set off alarm bells for me”.

“It begs the question, why if international experts, and acknowledged as such by the Commission, are saying the wall can be fully repaired, is the government determined to reduce the dam’s capacity?” Mr Dorrian said “It would seem that the government has over-reacted and at great cost to the regional economy.”

Mr Dorrian says the international dam expert commissioned by the Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Cooperative has offered an alternative viewpoint on the stability of the wall.

“I’m very pleased that Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers decided to engage an independent dam expert, Dr Paul Rizzo” Mr Dorrian said “we can’t argue against the government’s story that the dam is unsafe without the facts to back us up”.

Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetables Growers (BFVG) Managing Director, Bree Grima, agrees.

"Any decision about the future of Paradise Dam needs to be based on the facts and we deserve adequate testing that provides this. We need to keep the community safe as well as protect our competitive advantage and economic prosperity of the Region" Ms Grima said.

BFVG have been working tirelessly to demonstrate to government that there may be a better way to repair Paradise Dam, which does not involve lowering the wall. Internationally recognised dam engineer Dr Paul Rizzo of Rizzo International, has publicly stated there are a number of safe and economic options available to repair this type of dam (a Roller-Compacted Concrete dam) that do not involve any reduction to the height of the dam wall.

Mr Dorrian’s son, Matthew, is now the third generation of his family farming in the district. “We employ 44 people on our avocado orchard” Mr Dorrian said “but if water allocations drop because Paradise Dam is lowered, three quarters of those jobs will disappear”.


END

For comment contact BFVG Managing Director Bree Grima 0403 616 702, or John Dorrian on 0428 266 112

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MEDIA RELEASE

Friday 3rd April 2020

BFVG Questions Government Priorities

The Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Cooperative (BFVG) has slammed recent comments from Hon Dr Anthony Lynham, MP Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy about job creation from demolition works on Paradise Dam.

Managing Director of BFVG, Bree Grima, questioned the government's priorities after their recent media comments boasting of 80 short term jobs that demolition works on Paradise dam will create.

"Paradise Dam currently supports over 8000 jobs in the Bundaberg region" Ms Grima said "many of those jobs are long term, permanent positions which are held by people who have worked in agriculture their whole lives".

"Any decision about the future of Paradise Dam needs to be based on the facts and we deserve adequate testing that provides this. We need to keep the community safe as well as protect our competitive advantage and economic prosperity of the Region" Ms Grima said.

BFVG have been working tirelessly to demonstrate to government that there may be a better way to repair Paradise Dam, which does not involve lowering the wall. Internationally recognised dam engineer Dr Paul Rizzo of Rizzo International engaged by BFVG, has publicly stated there are a number of safe and economic options available to repair this type of dam (a Roller-Compacted Concrete dam) that do not involve any reduction to the height of the dam wall.

"The government's announcement last week that they fully intend to begin taking five metres off the spillway demonstrates they have little regard for local jobs supported by agriculture in this region" Ms Grima said.

"Minister Lynham's boast about 80 temporary jobs for demolition works which will help destroy thousands of long term local jobs is a slap in the face for the Bundaberg community."

Les Gilby, who has worked for local irrigation supply company, Sunfam, agrees. "I've been very fortunate to have a long term, secure job with Sunfam in Bundaberg for the last 22 years" Mr Gilby said "But I'm worried for my job now, in fact, all my work mates are nervous about their jobs, if Paradise Dam is lowered."

END

For comment contact BFVG Managing Director Bree Grima 0403 616 702, or Les Gilby, Project Manager Sunfam, 0417 641 226.

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MEDIA RELEASE

Saturday 28th March 2020

Growers Urge Open Minds in Paradise Dam Debate

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetables Growers (BFVG) have urged the community to keep an open mind about the future of Paradise Dam after the release of the Building Queensland report on the dam this week. The Building Queensland Report states that decommissioning of Paradise Dam is no longer being considered however BFVG have serious concerns that full reinstatement of the Dam Spillway is not considered in the top three options proposed.

BFVG have also been following the Commission of Inquiry. Managing Director Bree Grima says “it is important to note that during the Inquiry a number of engineering experts questioned the testing methodology on the dam, with one notable quote from Dr Schrader that the dam wall is ‘probably almost certainly stable’ ”.

“We are asking the community to take into consideration all the information before forming an opinion on the dam, and therefore, its supposed future” said Ms Grima. Our Industry was not confident in the data supporting the decisions made by State Government and this is why BFVG engaged world-leading dam engineer Dr Paul Rizzo of Rizzo International to provide a stability and options report. 

“Dr Rizzo’s report is due at the end of March” said Ms Grima “unfortunately his progress was slowed due to bureaucratic delays which included lodging a Right to Information request and lengthy negotiations with Sunwater who eventually granted access to specific documents required for this report". 

We are keen to assist community members in their understanding and awareness of the Industry's reliability on Paradise dam and why it means so much to us. This region provides 25% of Australia's fresh produce, our growers are proud to supply healthy nutritious food to the nation and need the support of our local community to continue to do so. 

END

For comment contact Bree Grima, BFVG (07) 41533 007 or 0403 616 702 or visit www.bfvg.com.au

DOWNLOADABLE PDF

MEDIA RELEASE
For immediate release
Wednesday 25th March 2020

By-election candidates called on to stand up and support Paradise Dam

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers (BFVG) have written to all candidates in this weekend’s Currumbin and Bundamba by-elections calling on them to stand up for the region’s water security.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Managing Director Bree Grima says water security is vital for Bundaberg’s prosperity, growth and economic development and the State Government must rebuild the Paradise Dam wall.

The State Government released the Building Queensland (BQ) Options Report for Paradise Dam mid-morning today.

The options being considered by BQ ranged from full remediation through to decommissioning the dam.

“There is only one option as far as BFVG is concerned and that is the full remediation of the dam and that is what we have told the candidates in Bundamba and Currumbin”, Ms Grima said.

One option is to lower the dam wall to ten metres – that would see the dam as nothing more than a puddle. Another is to keep the dam at 42 percent capacity. That is not an option.

“The State Government must meet the water security commitment it made 15 years ago with construction of Paradise Dam. Farmers have invested heavily in the region which today supplies 25% of Australia’s fresh produce”, says Ms Grima.

BFVG’s letter (attached) tells candidates that “Bundaberg should be a food bowl, not a dust bowl” and that is the choice that lies with them if successful.

“No ifs, buts or excuses. The dam has to be restored to full capacity”, the letter tells candidates.

BFVG has also released an advertisement featuring local farm worker Rick Green (see attached). The advert is appearing on Facebook in the lead up to next weekend’s by-elections in Currumbin and Bundamba.

Rick Green is from Childers and is a third-generation member of the local farming community and says building Paradise Dam allowed the Bundaberg region to become one of Australia’s largest fruit and vegetable growing regions, supporting thousands of jobs.

Rick says: “Paradise Dam was built to drought-proof Bundaberg and provide confidence .... tearing it down instead of fixing it would be a disgrace.”

“I’m very concerned that the Queensland government is even considering reducing the dam’s capacity drastically” says Rick Green.

[END]

For comment contact BFVG on (07) 4153 3007, Bree Grima 0403 616 702 or visit www.bfvg.com.au.

DOWNLOADABLE PDF


MEDIA RELEASE
Friday 13th March 2020
  
 
L - R Letitia & Paul Taylor and family, Bree Grima BFVG, Jamie Hansen and family

SAVE PARADISE DAM CAMPAIGN
LAUNCHES HIGHWAY BILLBOARDS

Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers’ ‘Save Paradise Dam’ Campaign has launched three billboards on the Isis Highway, near the turnoff to Cordalba.

Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers (BFVG) Managing Director, Bree Grima, said the purpose of the billboards was to alert the broader community to the campaign to save Paradise Dam.

“We were approached by Childers cane, tree and aquaculture producer, Col Taylor, who offered us the use of the signs for free” Ms Grima said “It was too good an opportunity to turn down!”.

Scott Taylor from local Billboard company, Tayco, local graphic designer Selina Ferrais from Scribbly Inc, and local photographer Paul Beutel, all assisted in designing and installing the billboards on a very short time frame.

“Time is of the essence” Ms Grima said, “the State Government has indicated works to reduce the spillway on Paradise Dam will commence in April this year and we’re calling for more testing to be done prior to this taking place”

“The billboards on the Isis Highway are a perfect avenue to share our views with the community on the importance of Paradise Dam to the Region”

Local cane and lychee grower, Jamie Hansen, said his kids jumped at the chance to be in the photo shoot for the billboards.

“My kids are living in a household where the only thing that is talked about lately is the fate of Paradise Dam” Mr Hansen said “they were so happy to do something to help with the campaign because they’re worried about the future of the Dam just like the rest of the district is”.

“Everyone just wants to do their bit to help the campaign” Mr Hansen said.

 “We’re receiving amazing support from local businesses, growers and community members in our fight to save Paradise Dam” Ms Grima said “but such a campaign is very expensive, especially with the costs associated with engaging our own independent dam expert, Dr Rizzo, to advise us on the structural issues with the dam”.

“All financial support is greatly appreciated” Ms Grima said “which is why we’ve set up a ‘Go Fund Me’ page to help locals donate”.

Anyone concerned about the future of Paradise Dam can keep up to date at www.saveparadise.com.au or https://www.facebook.com/saveparadise4670/ or on twitter at @ParadiseDam. To donate please visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/saving-paradise-dam.

ENDS

For comment contact Bree Grima, BFVG (07) 41533 007 or 0403 616 702

DOWNLOADABLE PDF

MEDIA RELEASE

Tuesday 10th March 2020

WORLD EXPERTS TELL PARADISE DAM COMMISSION MORE TESTING IS NEEDED

Several of the world's top experts in major water storage and dam projects today presented evidence to the Commission of Inquiry into Paradise Dam, sitting in Brisbane.

Global geotechnical expert, Dr Paul Rizzo, compacted concrete engineering specialist, Steve Tatro, and international authority on RCC dams, Dr Ernest Schrader, all questioned the validity of the testing processes on which Sunwater based its assessment of the stability of Paradise Dam.

Steve Tatro questioned the shear testing process and said that multiple testing of the same core sample over a lengthy period and subsequent limited testing led him to question the assumptions behind the report stating the dam's stability was at risk.

Dr Rizzo said he also had strong concerns regarding using the core samples as a means for testing cohesion of the dam layers and for coming to the conclusion that the dam had stability issues.

Dr Ernest Schrader said the results of the tests Sunwater relied on were "suspect". He said no dam of similar construction in the world had shown such low levels and "proper testing is needed" to draw such a conclusion.

Dr Schrader said he had not seen the testing, but from photos he had viewed, the testing appeared to have been performed on core samples that had been taken apart and put back together. He said "it doesn't make sense".

"You can't put much reliance" on some of the previous testing data included in the overall assessment of the dam's status. Dr Schrader agreed the cores tested showed faults but said "that's not what's in the dam".

Agreeing, Dr Rizzo said the existing data obtained by Sunwater over the past decade or so was "inadequate, misleading and insufficient to assess the integrity and safety of Paradise Dam."

All three concluded their evidence saying more testing was required on the Paradise Dam to make a real evaluation of its stability with Dr Schrader saying "in my knowledge (the dam is) almost certainly stable".
[END]

Further Information call Bree Grima on 0403 616 702, BFVG Office on 07) 41533 007 or visit www.bfvg.com.au.
 

DOWNLOADABLE PDF


MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate release

Tuesday 3rd March 2020

Media background: Paradise Dam Demonstration, Bundaberg 3 March 2020 

More than 100 farmers, irrigators, farm workers, business owners, families and local residents today gathered outside the hearing of the Paradise Dam Commission of Inquiry at Bundaberg courthouse, to stand up for the region’s water security.

Among the crowd were the Member for Bundaberg David Batt, Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett, Mayor Jack Dempsey and several Bundaberg City Councillors.

David Batt MP said the demonstration showed how much distress “the Paradise Dam debacle” is causing the local community and said he would not stop fighting until the people of the Bundaberg region had “the answers they deserve”.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Managing Director Bree Grima said water security was vital for Bundaberg’s prosperity, growth and economic development. “The State Government must meet the water security commitment it made 15 years ago with construction of Paradise Dam. Farmers have invested heavily in the region on the basis that it would be a food bowl, not a dust bowl”, said Ms Grima.

“If the government and Sunwater are truly concerned about farmers mental health – then fix the problem, fix the dam,” she said.

Lychee and macadamia grower Craig van Rooyen said “Public safety is paramount, but the right solution is to fix the dam

“The government is taking what they think is the easiest way out and ignoring the impact on Bundaberg because they don’t want to take responsibility”, said Mr van Rooyen.

Local berry farmer Tina McPherson said Paradise Dam was built to drought-proof Bundaberg and provide confidence .... tearing it down instead of fixing it would be a disgrace.”

“Who lied to us ? ... We are seeking the truth, they are hiding it”, said Mrs McPherson. “If it happens here, they can do it anywhere and it shows their water security policy and promises are a lie”.

[END]

For comment contact Bree Grima, BFVG on 0403 616 702, 41533 007 or visit www.bfvg.com.au


DOWNLOADABLE PDF

Media Release

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Cooperative Limited (BFVG)

BUNDABERG, QUEENSLAND

Ms Bree Grima, Managing Director                                                       24 February 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

$2.4 billion cost to Bundaberg economy if Paradise Dam not fixed

Today a consortium of regional advocacy and industry groups released their joint economic report titled “The economic costs of inaction on Paradise Dam”.

Prepared by expert economic advisory firm Adept Economics, the report estimates the cost of inaction on Paradise Dam, to the Bundaberg Region, would be approximately $2.4 billion over the next 30 years.

This is the potential cost to the Queensland economy of a permanent lowering of Paradise Dam by up to 5 metres.

The report shows that not restoring the Dam wall will comprise future investment and income-generation from high-valued crops, such as macadamias and avocadoes.

Bree Grima from Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers said: “The report also shows how regional irrigators rely on the certainty of water being available in Paradise Dam into the future before they commit to investments in new tree crops and irrigation infrastructure”.

The $2.4 billion cost estimate also includes broader economic and social impacts.

Mark Mammino, Chair of Bundaberg’s Irrigation Advisory Committee and Canegrowers Isis explained: “Irrigated agriculture underpins an important economic base for the Bundaberg region including a wide range of employment opportunities. Without action on Paradise Dam, there is a high risk of long-term unemployment and associated social problems such as mental health and financial stress”.

As part of the preparation of the report a survey was commissioned to canvas both irrigated business and non-irrigated business views on the importance of the Paradise Dam.

This survey received nearly 300 responses.

Report Author Gene Tunny said: “This was one of the highest survey responses we have seen and reflects a high level of community concern regarding the potential lowering of Paradise Dam.”

The report also shows that 92 per cent of surveyed growers indicated that Paradise Dam was extremely important to their business, while 76 per cent of non-irrigated businesses indicated the Dam was extremely important to their business.

Bree Grima from Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers said: “In short, growers stated that no water means no crop and no income and that the security of water in Paradise Dam provides the greatest advantage to our regional business sector”.

Non-irrigated businesses who completed the survey indicated that their turnover is intrinsically linked to grower activity.

The consortium also engaged with Building Queensland, who will soon release their own economic analysis on the impact of lowering Paradise Dam.

“From this, the consortium has been advised that Building Queensland’s analysis regarding future water demand is consistent with the outlook assumed in our report,” a spokesperson said.

Consortium partners who jointly funded the report include;

  • Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils
  • Regional Development Australia, Wide Bay Burnett
  • Canegrowers ISIS Ltd
  • Bundaberg Cane Growers
  • Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers
  • Australian Macadamia Society
  • Bundaberg Regional Council

 [END]

For further information, contact BFVG on (07) 4153 3007 or visit www.bfvg.com.au.

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MEDIA RELEASE

For immediate release

Paradise Dam powers only destroy trust

Tuesday 4 February 2020
The irrigators of Bundaberg are rightfully angry today at the rushed introduction of legislation into Parliament giving the Minister for Water Resources unfettered powers to start demolishing Paradise Dam.
 
The new powers allow the Minister to give the go ahead to Sunwater to start lowering the dam spillway in March and avoid a number of important council and environmental checks and balances.
 
“Any good faith the Minister may have built with the local community since a vast amount of water was released last year from the dam without warning has now been lost,” said Growcom CEO David Thomson.
 
“Decisions that affect the future of an entire region, importantly its economy and its jobs, are coming out from the State Government without consultation or explanation.”
 
“It is easy to see why so much rumour surrounds these decisions, including the suggestion there’s a hidden agenda to tear down Paradise Dam at all costs.”
 
Particularly galling for the irrigator community is the timing of this legislation, coming less than a week after an international dam engineering expert had given confidence that there were good prospects for both making the dam safe and returning it to full capacity.
 
Dr Paul Rizzo had told a packed meeting of concerned residents that not one dam of hundreds built in the same way around the world had ever been known to fail.
 
He also advised that no dam built the same way with any structural issues had been unable to be repaired and restored to full capacity.
 
“The Government’s decisions don’t stack up. They’re still waiting on a report from Building Queensland on their options. And clearly they should be welcoming input from other experts. But appear to be ploughing ahead, which is unfathomable,” said Bree Grima, Managing Director of Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers.
 
“If the Government is making decisions on evidence that is not yet public, then they must release this information immediately.”
 
“It’s simply not good enough for the Government to hold an entire community to ransom based on public safety concerns. If the concerns are real then of course they must take action.”
 
“But as of yet they’ve not produced the proof, while the experience of an international expert has given the community cause to think the risk to public safety has been inflated to serve another agenda.”

- - END - -

For Comment:

David Thomson, CEO, Growcom – 0418 168 853

Bree Grima, Managing Director, Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers - 0403 616 702

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