David Littlerpoud MP David Littlerpoud

Labor scraps funding for Emu Swamp Dam Project

May 9, 2023

Funding for the Emu Swamp Dam has been cut as part of the Labor Government’s Budget.

The Granite Belt community has now been left without long-term water security thanks to Labor ripping billions of dollars worth of infrastructure funding out of regional areas.

The former Coalition Government committed $126.5 million in the 2022-2023 Budget towards the critical drought-proofing project, which would have constructed a 12GL dam on the Severn River near Stanthorpe, as well as a 117-kilometre pipeline distribution network.

However, the Labor Government announced on Tuesday the project has now been dumped.

Maranoa MP David Littleproud said the Labor Government had turned its back on the Granite Belt community and its water security needs.

“During the most recent drought, which was the worst on record, communities across the Granite Belt had to rely on water being carted in from nearby areas because local water supplies had run dry,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Over a period of 15 months, each day about 34 truckloads of water, or about 1.6 million litres of water per day, were carted into Stanthorpe to supply the community.

“As a result, $800,000 per month was spent transporting water into the community until the drought finally broke.

“The former Coalition Government’s Emu Swamp Dam project sought to ensure water security for future droughts, urban supply and for agriculture, all while saving taxpayer dollars, but this Budget shows that Labor treats regional Australians as forgotten Australians.”

Mr Littleproud said the project had the potential to make the region an even greater agricultural powerhouse than it currently is.

“This project was vital because it would have increased the availability of water by up to 40 per cent in the region,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Taking away the funding takes away confidence and certainty for farmers to expand agriculture production. It will especially impact growers of apples, stone fruit, vegetables, herbs and grapes.

“Maranoa locals are facing a cost-of-living crisis and taking money out of our area will hurt the entire region.”

Labor’s decision to scrap the project comes after it put the project on hold for four years during last October’s Budget.

“This decision is a kick in the guts for not just residents of the Granite Belt community, but also the region’s agricultural sector,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Millions of dollars worth of crops were lost in the region because of a lack of a sufficient supply of water and this project aimed to fix that.

“Labor has only been able to deliver a Budget surplus thanks to the success of our resource and agricultural sectors and this decision shows this Government doesn’t value these sectors’ contributions to our economy.”