COUNCIL BACKING: Emu Swamp Dam is set to have the complete backing of the Southern Downs Regional Council, giving proponent Granite Belt Irrigation Project a “whole-of-government” approach.
COUNCIL BACKING: Emu Swamp Dam is set to have the complete backing of the Southern Downs Regional Council, giving proponent Granite Belt Irrigation Project a “whole-of-government” approach.

Council to increase involvement in Emu Swamp

EMU Swamp Dam is set to have the backing of the Southern Downs Regional Council following a proposal by proponent Granite Belt Irrigation Project (GBIP).

The proposal, which was considered at last Wednesday’s meeting, would see an increase in council’s operational capacity, enabling “necessary approvals to be coordinated and delivered within the project’s timelines”.

The council’s endorsement for GBIP to seek an Infrastructure Designation under the Planning Act would result in a streamlined whole-of-government response.

Councillor for water Stephen Tancred said the designation was the “most appropriate option” for the proposal against the Planning Act.

“Council plays an important role in the overall process of bringing Emu Swamp Dam to fruition,” he said.

“It is pleasing to see council working with GBIP to navigate the most efficient route for the required approvals that ensure all regulatory requirements are met.”

The Infrastructure Designation will allow council to contribute significantly to the project through planning and development of staff resources.

However, an offer by GBIP to contribute financially to offset costs was accepted by council.

“It is also important that GBIP should cover the costs being imposed on council for its involvement in a project of this scale,” Cr Tancred said.

Construction on Emu Swamp Dam is expected to commence in 2021.

A further report is expected to be presented to council at a special meeting on June 30.