Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington addresses a meeting of Linville residents about the proposed dam in June 2014 (Photo: Nanango Electorate Office)

February 26, 2014

Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington has labelled as a “kneejerk reaction” a decision by the new State Government to put on hold a proposal to construct a flood mitigation dam in the Linville area.

Mrs Frecklington said people in the Linville area would not just be “left hanging”.

An Ipswich newspaper reported on Tuesday that Labor had “pulled the plug” on dam proposals at Linville and Willowbank.

Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark Bailey quickly hit back “to set the record straight” but admitted “there are no plans to progress this matter at this time”.

“Given the nature of the studies, I have asked for a full briefing from the Department of Energy and Water Supply and this will include recommendations about flood mitigation,” he said.

A  “Prefeasibility Investigation Into Flood Mitigation Storage Infrastructure” report released in December by the previous government considered potential options to improve the flood defences of Brisbane and Ipswich.

It developed a shortlist of dam options which were eventually narrowed down to three that were worthy of further consideration:

  • Raising the Wivenhoe Dam  wall;
  • A new dam on the Brisbane River upstream of Linville; and
  • A new dam on the Lower Warrill Creek near Willowbank.

A “feasibility” investigation was to begin in January to explore these three preferred options.

Mr Bailey said the commitment to undertake studies for the two dams had been made by the previous LNP government, not Labor.

“The planned proposals which were being considered by the previous government would have involved land resumptions and major disruption to local residents and businesses in the area,” he said.

“I can certainly appreciate the impact on the local community.

“For this reason, the new Labor government does not propose to create any unnecessary uncertainty and angst by rubber stamping a proposal that would cause disruption to people’s lives and their livelihoods. Important economic and environmental issues also need to be seriously considered.”

Mrs Frecklington said this would create even more uncertainty for Somerset residents.

“While no decisions had been made, I’m extremely disappointed that these proposals have been dismissed, leaving my constituents with even more waiting and uncertainty,” she said.

“I understand that Minister Bailey rejected the proposal before he even received a proper briefing from the Department.”

Mrs Frecklington said the previous LNP Government had been working methodically to address flood mitigation proposals and in the process had been upfront and honest with Somerset residents about the options that were under consideration.

“In particular, people living in the Linville area were hoping to understand fairly soon whether or not the dam would become a reality, and they were keen to start making plans, whatever the decision may have been. Now, the proposal will just keep hanging over their heads, which is not a good outcome,” she said.

“If Labor aren’t going to progress these flood mitigation options, what is their plan? You just can’t leave people without answers like this. I’ll be writing to the Minister to address this issue.”

Related articles:

The three flood mitigation proposals shortlisted in December (Source: State Government)

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