The Bundaberg community and wider Queensland horticulture industry is deeply disappointed today as the Palaszczuk Government continues to push through Parliament new powers to demolish Paradise Dam.

This move comes as the Government makes offensive comparisons between the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak and the impacts of recent and ongoing natural disasters on the Queensland agriculture industry.   

Cameron Dick, Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning told State Parliament yesterday, “This week our state recalls with a heavy heart the terrible flooding that North and North-West Queensland endured from the monsoon trough flooding event one year ago.”

“Today our state faces a disaster of a different kind.”

“The Coronavirus international health crisis poses a threat to our health and, in many ways, an even greater threat to our economy. Thousands of Queenslanders face deep financial distress as tourism, fishing, aquaculture, education and agriculture face a threat as big as drought, flood and bushfire.”

Those struggling daily with the immense financial and emotional pressures resulting from the monsoon event last year and the current unprecedented drought won’t take any comfort from their Government making outlandish comparisons.

“It’s not Coronavirus but dry weather disease that is most impacting the people of Queensland right now,” said Growcom CEO David Thomson.  

“And unlike the Coronavirus outbreak which will come to a natural conclusion, we know even now while the current drought drags on that there will be many more droughts in the future.”

“They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And the Palaszczuk Government has the opportunity to inoculate the entire Bundaberg region against future droughts, and their economic and emotional impacts, but refuses to do so.”

The feeling in Bundaberg has turned to dismay after an international dam expert last week had raised hope, advising that no dam around the world built in the same way had ever failed.

“We call again on Premier Palaszczuk and Minister Lynham to hold all works on Paradise Dam until all reports and options are on the table,” said Bree Grima, Managing Director of Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers.

“They continue to cite public safety as their overriding reason for immediately lowering the dam wall.”

“But they’ve failed provide any evidence to suggest how likely the wall is to catastrophically fail, and even if it did, what damage might be done.”

“Until they do, it will be very hard for the Bundaberg community to understand why a dam that underpins their jobs and livelihoods should be deconstructed.”