JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT:
Member for Bundaberg David Batt MP
Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett MP
Member for Callide Colin Boyce MP
Friday, 7 Feburary 2020
The Labor Government has cleared the way to start demolishing the Paradise Dam wall after using their majority to pass sinister new laws through Queensland Parliament last night.
Local LNP MP’s Stephen Bennett and David Batt spoke against the amendments in State Parliament, saying the move would destroy the Bundaberg region’s water security and economy.
After introducing the amendments as part of an unrelated Bill on Tuesday, the Palaszczuk Labor Government decided on Thursday to instead move the amendments as part of a different Bill mid-debate, in a bid to limit the speaking time for Opposition MPs while still ensuring the laws would be passed through Parliament this sitting week.
The rushed new laws sweep aside 17 separate pieces of legislation, enabling Sunwater to begin demolition of the Paradise Dam Wall immediately, without any of the usual planning or environmental approvals.
Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said this latest attack is an absolute disaster for the entire Wide Bay region.
“Our community deserves so much better than this,” he said.
“We know there are solutions that should be investigated thoroughly before such drastic measures are even considered.
“How can a decision that affects the future of an entire region, its economy and its jobs be made without consultation or explanation?
“My community is pleading with the Government to please stop.
“This is a despicable act; to hold an entire community to ransom based on public safety concerns.”
State Member for Bundaberg David Batt said he was struggling to find the right words to express his disbelief and anger in Labor’s destruction.
“This Paradise Dam debacle has brought Bundaberg residents, business owners, growers and irrigators to tears, but Labor doesn’t care,” he said.
“Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham should be ashamed of their actions, pushing through laws with no committee investigation, no community consultation and no explanation.
“Labor has known about the Paradise Dam Wall issues since 2015, so why the sudden need to start work immediately?
“Why not wait for the Commission of Inquiry, Building Queensland report and Dr Paul Rizzo’s investigations to be complete in the next few months as planned?
“The odds of someone taking their own life because this debacle has put their entire livelihood at risk is much more likely than the loss of life from the remote possibility of
a catastrophic failure of the dam wall in the unlikely case of another 1 in 200-year event in the next 12 months.
“Labor’s destruction of our region’s future poses the question; what do they know that they’re not telling us?”
With the Labor Government tactics to stifle debate and limit speaking time, Member for Callide Colin Boyce was not permitted his turn to speak.
“As usual, the debate was guillotined by the Labor so I was unable to speak on this disastrous legislation,” he said.
“I absolutely do not support the lowering of the dam wall on the grounds of public safety, given Dr Paul Rizzo’s views on the matter.”
“Once again, this shows the contempt the Labor government has for agriculture and rural Queensland.”
For speeches by Stephen Bennett MP, David Batt MP and Deb Frecklington MP click here.
For Colin Boyce MP full comments click here.