FUTURE UNCERTAIN: Minister for Natural Resources, Mine and Energy Anthony Lynham and State Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington debate over future of Paradise Dam during parliament on Thursday, May 22. Photo: File
FUTURE UNCERTAIN: Minister for Natural Resources, Mine and Energy Anthony Lynham and State Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington debate over future of Paradise Dam during parliament on Thursday, May 22. Photo: File

MPs go head-to-head over Paradise dam inquiry findings

AN INDEPENDENT Commission of Inquiry has confirmed structural and stability issues with Paradise Dam near Bundaberg.

Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham tabled the 563-page report in parliament, telling the House that the State Government had accepted all eight of the commission’s recommendations for future projects.

“The Commission heard evidence about a litany of issues with the design and construction, some of which were ultimately found to be root causes of the present-day structural and stability concerns,” Lynham said.

“The commission found that the design of the primary spillway apron is completely inadequate. It’s simply not wide enough.

“Evidence before the commission, suggested that if the 2013 floods had lasted longer, the erosion due to the insufficient downstream protection may have undermined the dam giving rise to a risk of a dam failure,” he said.

“Importantly, the Commission considers that Sunwater’s position in responding to the risks associated with the dam is reasonable.”

He said expert testimony also confirmed that more testing was needed to resolve doubts about the dam’s stability.

“This is consistent with the Building Queensland report findings handed down in March and preparations for testing is underway,” he said.

“As always the government’s priority remains community safety – with Paradise Dam to continue to provide long term water security and underpin economic prosperity in Bundaberg and the Burnett for generations to come.”

An aerial view of Paradise Dam at Coringa. Picture: John Wilson
An aerial view of Paradise Dam at Coringa. Picture: John Wilson

State Opposition Leader and Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington said she called for an immediate halt to the tearing down of the Paradise Dam wall.

“The report states that the former Labor Government charged with constructing the dam failed in its basic responsibility to ensure a proper and adequate build,” Ms Frecklington said.

“The report highlights issues around the project’s management, materials and methods which make for sobering reading.

“The lack of proper peer revision was cited as a major example of the failed construction process,” she said.

“The construction project was flawed from the top down.”

She said the ‘buck’ stopped with former Premier Peter Beattie and the former Labor Government that rushed the construction and cut corners to save time and money.

“The report endorses the expert advice the LNP has relied upon in calling for further testing to be undertaken before the wall is torn down,” she said.

“The fact that the Palaszczuk Labor Government has accepted the Commission’s findings, including that there needs to be more testing, is an endorsement of the LNP’s plan for Paradise Dam.

“It is time for Labor to abandon its plan to spend $100 million tearing down the wall when clearly more testing is urgently needed.”

The Commission report can be accessed here.