One Nation critical of Emu Swamp Dam ‘road blocks’
THE Queensland Government's 'delayed involvement' with Emu Swamp Dam has been slammed by One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts.
The senator toured the Granite Belt region on Thursday, discussing the water security the irrigation dam is expected to deliver.
"It's disappointing to learn of the road blocks the State Government have put in the way, they seem to be afraid to do anything in regional areas," he said.
"There is positive news in Emu Swam Dam, it seems to be driven by a lot of locals and there is momentum building, which seems to give hope for the future.
"But we should be helping people like Brent Finlay (Granite Belt Irrigation Project strategic adviser) not hindering them in government."
The dam, which is expected to begin construction in early 2021, will provide Granite Belt producers with greater security after enduring several years of punishing drought.
While the resilient nature of producers was praised by Mr Roberts, questions were raised as the extra expenses being felt across the region.
"That's what we've seen all over Queensland, farmers are extremely professional but they're not being given a fair go," he said.
"One farmer (we spoke to Thursday) said his third-highest cost was electricity.
"We're driving businesses out of business in the rural areas."
As the Granite Belt's tourism economy bounces back following strict coronavirus restrictions, Roberts said there was more too be done across the region.
"Stanthorpe doesn't seem to be having as much business stress as the other areas, but with the regional downturn that's been going on for a few years, compounded with COVID, it's really put pressure on regional Queensland," he said.
"And the State Government seems really oblivious to it."