26 October 2022

The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for the Environment and Water

The Hon Glenn Butcher, QLD Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water 

Labor Governments work together to rebuild Paradise Dam

The Queensland Government and Commonwealth Government are working together to jointly fund the $1.2 billion Paradise Dam rebuild.

Federal Water Minister Tanya Plibersek said allocating $600 million in the Federal Budget was very important to the Bundaberg community.

“Federal Labor promised this $600 million before the election in May and I’m proud to be part of a Government delivering for Queensland communities.

“Bundaberg is one of the nation’s most important food bowls and we know a rebuilt Paradise Dam will provide local growers with certainty into the future,” she said.

The project will allow an expansion of irrigated agriculture in the region and more security for town water supply.

Originally built in 2005, Paradise Dam experienced unanticipated damage during the 2011 and 2013 floods and an Independent Commission of Inquiry report from 2020 confirmed structural and stability issues. The dam wall was lowered due to these structural concerns.

Queensland Minister for Water Glenn Butcher said the federal funding, which matched the state budget funding of $600 million, will return the dam to its original height of 67.6 metres, as part of significant safety improvement works.

“This massive $1.2 billion Paradise Dam Improvement Project will restore the dam to its full 300GL capacity and will provide a safe, reliable and secure water supply to local agricultural, industrial and urban communities,” Mr Butcher said.  

“This is a vote of confidence for the farmers and the thriving agricultural sector in the Bundaberg and Burnett region,” he said.

“But more than that, this project will now continue, full steam ahead, giving more than 250 people good, solid jobs during the construction phase and offering long-term economic benefits to the community.”

Bundaberg MP Tom Smith echoed that sentiment and congratulated the Labor Governments for working together to deliver the project and thanked community members for their patience, following several weeks of fearmongering by Members of the Opposition.

“Keith Pitt and Stephen Bennett should immediately apologise for the fear their comments have caused,” Tom Smith said. 

“Mr Pitt and Mr. Bennett were repeatedly made aware that the funding was committed by Federal Labor, and yet they continued to run a scare campaign with the full support of their fellow LNP members both State and Federal, attacking the confidence in our local agriculture and horticulture industries.

"The Member for Burnett and Federal Member for Hinkler must each provide an apology to claw back any faint credibility he had on this matter,” he said.

Minister Butcher said four contracts have already been awarded, for works on the project.

“This is one of the largest construction projects in the history of this region and it will ensure water security for the farmers, industry, and the broader community is safeguarded for decades to come,” Mr Butcher said.

“This project is already supporting dozens of good, local jobs.”

Sunwater is completing engineering design and detailed work, supported by geotechnical activities.

Early works to commence this financial year include planning, design and upgrades of existing roads, investigations into suitable aggregate and other construction materials and planning the mobilisation and establishment at the construction site.

Enabling works for the project are expected to start in 2023, including local road upgrades, with major works at the dam expected to commence in 2024.

The Paradise Dam Improvement project is jointly funded by the Australian Government through the National Water Grid Fund ($600 million) and the Queensland Government ($600 million).