'Time for talk is over'
THE Federal Government is ready to dance - they just need a dance partner.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack joined Agriculture Minister David Littleproud in Stanthorpe today where the pair pledged to see Emu Swamp Dam over the line.
"This is as close as we've ever been. People are just jack of it - they want to see excavators digging," Mr Littleproud said.
"We're ready to dance, we're waiting for a dance partner. Time for talk is over. Effectively the story of the Granite Belt is 'just add water'.
"The agricultural production that comes out of this part of the world is significant.
"The exciting thing about this is already we're seeing young people come back to the Granite Belt because there's a future in agriculture.
"Agriculture is sexy again - there's a quid to be made.
"We've had a generation drain out of regional areas away from agriculture but now it's turning - but the only way to turn that is to add water," he said.
Before the gathering of media, farmers and project proponents, Mr McCormack said he was ready to build.
"I stand ready, the Commonwealth stands ready, the Federal Liberal Nationals stand ready to build this project," he said.
"The potential here is limitless."
The only thing standing between seeing sod turned on the Emu Swamp dam, or not, is funding input from the Queensland State Government.
"The Federal Government will fund half the predicted $84 million dam, with $23.4million from local growers and the rest to come from the state," Mr McCormack said.
"When the half a billion dollars from the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund was put on the table recently, I was asked for the project in Queensland that best sums up the potential that could be yielded and I said in a heartbeat, Emu Swamp.
"I have acknowledged that, David has fought for that, the farmers from here have lobbied hard for this for far too long and it's time to stop the talk.
"We want to work in good faith with the Queensland Government. We want to work in good faith to see that this dream becomes a reality," he said.
- Matthew Purcell, Stanthorpe Border Post