Emu Swamp Dam
29 June 2020
At the Wednesday 24 June 2020 General Council Meeting, Councillors considered a report from officers on development assessment options for construction of Emu Swamp Dam.
There are a myriad of development approvals required to be obtained by the Emu Swamp Dam proponent, Granite Belt Irrigation Project (GBIP), before construction can commence. As with any proposed development, Council has a role to play in assessing applications under the Planning Act 2016. Many of the approvals required by GBIP will involve Council input and require a significant commitment of resources to ensure a development of this scale can be assessed in an efficient and timely manner.
Council resolved to endorse GBIP pursuing an Infrastructure Designation under the Planning Act for Emu Swamp Dam. This will result in GBIP having a streamlined whole-of-government response and enables for one approval to be given to cover all of the approvals required under the Planning Act. Public consultation will still occur with any impacted stakeholder, however it is a more structured process led by the State Government.
Under an Infrastructure Designation, Council will still be called upon to contribute significantly to the project in terms of planning and development staff resources. In recognition of this financial impost, Council also resolved to accept an offer from GBIP to contribute financially to offset these costs.
Portfolio Councillor for Water, Stephen Tancred, said that encouraging the proponents to seek an Infrastructure Designation was the most appropriate option for the assessment of the proposal against the Planning Act.
“Council plays an important role in the overall process of bringing Emu Swamp Dam to fruition and it is pleasing to see Council working with GBIP to navigate the most efficient route for the required approvals that ensure all regulatory requirements are met,” Cr Tancred said.
“It is also important that GBIP should cover the costs being imposed on Council for its involvement in a project of this scale.”
Residents are encouraged to view the Granite Belt Water Irrigation Project report included in the meeting’s agenda. This report includes an extensive breakdown of the background of this project.
Council is still carefully considering its involvement in Emu Swamp Dam with a further report anticipated to be brought to Council for consideration at a Special Meeting on 30 June 2020. Further updates will be released from Council when more information becomes available.
The GBIP Business Case states that Emu Swamp Dam will create 700 long term jobs and will be joint funded by the Queensland State and Federal Governments as well as producers who intend to use the water for irrigation.