House debates

Tuesday, 25 February 2020


Flynn Electorate: Water

7:55 pm

Photo of Ken O'DowdKen O'Dowd (Flynn, National Party) Share this | Hansard source

After a long dry spell on the east coast of Australia, rain has suddenly started to fall on my electorate of Flynn, and dam levels are on the rise, fortunately. Dams and weirs are so important to rural and regional Australia, and I'm blessed that we have some of those dams in my electorate. I'd like to have more. The grasses are returning—they've changed colour, from brown to green—and the cattle are now able to chew on that good grass, and the good news is that cattle prices are on their way up. Farmers have got a long way to go yet, because they had to get rid of some of their breeder cattle during these rough drought periods. That's not going to be done overnight, but at least this is a start.

Dam levels across Flynn are not too bad. Some have fared very well, some not so well, but they are all improved. For instance, the Callide dam at Biloela was zero on 7 February last year; the capacity now is 31.97 per cent—not full but a lot better than it was. The Fairbairn dam at Emerald, which feeds all that irrigation and the mines and towns in the Central Highlands, got down to seven per cent; it is now 16.8 per cent—still a long way from being full, but it's a lot better than the seven per cent. That dam, by the way, holds 1.3 million megalitres. The Awoonga dam at Gladstone, which feeds industry and the town itself, is 98 per cent full. That's enough capacity to keep us going for quite a few years at that rate.

The Paradise dam, as you are well aware, Mr Deputy Speaker O'Brien, is a minefield. The Queensland government have let go over 105,000 megs; they've reduced the level of the wall, down to five metres, and who knows what's going to happen in the future. It's causing a great deal of stress to the farmers above the dam and in your area below the dam. There's word that even macadamia trees will have to be pulled out because of what's happened to the wall of the Paradise dam. That dam was only built in 2005. It hasn't had a long life at all. The construction of that dam has proven to be faulty, and it endangers the township of Bundaberg, which sits below the dam wall. We are trying to have the experts come in. We want to see it go back to its original level and have the original amount water available to those farmers, upstream and downstream.

Weirs in my electorate: the Bedford weir and the Tartrus weir on the Nogoa-Mackenzie system are 100 per cent full. Several weirs along the Dawson River are 100 per cent full. The Boondooma dam, near Proston, is 34.4 per cent full. The Kroombit dam at Biloela has missed the rainfall, as have some other unfortunate areas, and it's only 3.5 per cent full. The Rookwood weir is still not built, and that causes more issues. The federal government has promised the state government to go fifty-fifty in building this new weir, and $176 million has been allocated out of federal funding, but we still need a start. There is a start on some of the roads in and on top of Rookwood weir, but it will be great to see that dam really take its foothold downstream of the Dawson, Mackenzie and Fitzroy rivers.

The John Peterson Bridge near Mundubbera: there was $20 million in the last election promise. That's available now to flood-proof the Mundubbera-Durong Road, and that really needs to be started, because the wet season looks like it has returned. Let's hope everything goes well in the future and that we see a lot more water around Flynn.

House adjourned at 20:00


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