GRANITE Belt Water has welcomed Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's announcement of the release of $6 million in funds to progress work towards delivery of the Emu Swamp Dam and pipeline project near Stanthorpe
The funding, which is an advance drawn from the $13.6 million already committed by the Queensland Government, was announced by the Premier in Parliament on Thursday.
It will allow Granite Belt Water to develop and release tender documents for construction of the dam as well as contracts for the region's irrigators who wish to secure water from the facility.
Granite Belt Water Chairman Dan Hunt said he was delighted to move forward on the next phase of development of this transformational piece of water infrastructure.
"I thank the Premier and her government for releasing these much needed funds at a critical time for water infrastructure on the Granite Belt," Mr Hunt said.
"This announcement provides a significant boost to the Stanthorpe, Granite Belt and Southern Downs communities and helps to progress a project that will create 700 long-term jobs in farming and support industries, while boosting the region's agricultural production capabilities by some $68 million.
"As recent severe weather events have shown water security is nothing short of critical to the sustainability of rural and regional communities right across Australia, and must be invested in.
"The team at Granite Belt Water will immediately start work on pre-construction activities for Emu Swamp Dam."
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the money would allow Granite Belt Water over a number of instalments to get on with early pre-construction activities.
"My government has already committed $13.6 million to this project, and that commitment is solid," she said.
"But the proponent has asked for a special advance from those funds and I have listened.
"Emu Swamp Dam could provide up to 3900 megalitres of water every year to local farmers.
Granite Belt Water proposes an $84 million dam on the Severn River near Stanthorpe to provide water to local farms via a 117-kilometre pipe network. The distribution network will include solar power generation and large scale battery storage to power the pumps.
Usually, a proponent would fund works and receive reimbursement from the state.
However, the Premier said she recognised the challenges Granite Belt Water faced in advancing this project.
"The Granite Belt has been doing it tough, but some dams are filling and there are smiles on people's faces again," she said.
"I am proud that my government is making this important contribution to a highly productive and economically significant region of Queensland."
Member for Maranoa and Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the federal government would contribute $42 million dollars to the project.
"This project will give Granite Belt producers the water security they need," Minister Littleproud said.
"Local farmers have dug deep and will chip in more than $23.4 million.
"Farmers have been waiting for this since the federal government committed funding for the dam.
"The $6 million advance by the state government on Thursday is to get essential work for the Emu Swamp Dam underway.
"It's good to see we are now working together for the good of Granite Belt producers.
"The Emu Swamp Dam will create hundreds of full times jobs, inject tens of millions of dollars into the local economy and give a secure water source to our producers."