State Member for Bundaberg David Batt is pleased to have successfully called for Sunwater to finally allow Dr Paul Rizzo access to 9 confidential documents relating to Paradise Dam after the request for the same information was denied last month.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers (BFVG) and other local industry bodies have collaboratively commissioned Dr Rizzo, international expert on safety evaluation and rehabilitation of dams, to investigate Paradise Dam and provide options for its future.

On 8 January 2020 BFVG requested the documents from State Government owned entity Sunwater, but the request was denied. BFVG then made an application to the Right to Information but until now, had received no response.

Mr Batt said he couldn’t understand why Dr Rizzo couldn’t have access to the documents, taking his question to the Premier during Question Time on Wednesday morning*.

“Labor is continually spruiking that they’re ‘acting in the spirit of full public disclosure’ and are willing to ‘act collaboratively with Dr Rizzo’, yet they denied him access to vital documents,” Mr Batt said.

“I asked the Premier if the State Government would immediately release the documents to allow Dr Rizzo to progress his investigations, her response advising she would follow up with the Minister.

“BFVG wrote specifically to the Minister and Sunwater to request these documents on more than one occasion, but only after being questioned in Parliament has the Minister finally acknowledged the query, advising last night that Dr Rizzo will now be allowed access to the documents after all*.

“It’s disappointing the Minister failed to address this issue until I raised it in Queensland Parliament, but nonetheless it’s good news.

“Our Bundaberg community anxiously awaits the findings of Dr Rizzo, Building Queensland and the Commission of Inquiry, hoping the outcomes will finally force the State Government to commit to a plan for our region.

“If the lost water capacity isn’t reinstated in one way or another, our region’s future could be severely impacted and 1 in 5 local residents working in the agriculture and horticulture industry could lose their jobs.

“I will continue to call for answers until this debacle is resolved once and for all.”

*Please click here to access a video of David’s Question, the Premier’s response, as well as Minister Lynham’s separate address.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Grower’s timeline of relevant events:

  • 8th January – BFVG through its lawyer Batch Mewing Lawyers requested documents from Sunwater
  • 16th January – Sunwater declined this request
  • 17th January – BFVG through its lawyer submitted a Right to Information application for these documents
  • 6th February – BFVG sent a letter to Dr Anthony Lynham MP requesting access to the documents
  • 10th February – BFVG sent a letter to Sunwater requesting the documents.

Thursday, 20 February 2020