Granite Belt Irrigation Project emu swamp dam

A new consultancy company has been appointed to fast-track final planning for the Granite Belt Irrigation Project (GBIP).

National engineering consultancy Premise will oversee obtaining final permits and construction tenders for the Emu Swamp Dam, marking a serious commitment of resources on GBIP’s behalf to expediting the project.

GBIP will deliver the 12,000ML dam at Emu Swamp, south-west of Stanthorpe, and 117km of pipeline to provide water to 51 agribusiness customers and bring wide-reaching benefits to the region.

Core pre-construction activities are confirming contracts to purchase water with irrigators, which will confirm where water needs to be delivered; commencing negotiations with landholders to access or acquire land along the pipeline route; detailed planning and tendering to accurately cost the project; and obtaining approvals necessary to enable construction.

Tenders to construct the dam and provide the pipeline infrastructure will be released in coming months.

A new website has been launched and a shop front at 3/35 Maryland Street, Stanthorpe, has opened to allow increased engagement with the community.

When operational the GBIP is expected to create 250 jobs during construction, and 700 new full-time agriculture and supporting jobs in the region which will boost the well-being of the local community.

Granite Belt Water CEO, Lloyd Taylor, said the appointment is a major step needed to move through the permit stage, and then onto construction contracting.

“A vast amount of work has been done since GBIP planning began in 2007, and we’re working as quickly and as diligently as possible to allow our Board and governments to make a final decision on this desperately-needed water project,” Mr Taylor said.

“The work to be completed by Premise puts serious horsepower behind the final steps needed to draw all this information together to obtain necessary government permits and approvals, and to prepare tenders for construction of the dam and pipeline.

“A decision to begin construction is expected in early 2021, and this will be based in large part on the final permits and detailed budgets that will result from this engineering work in coming months.”

Premise Director, Patrick Brady, said the firm’s Toowoomba regional office will deliver the project and draw on technical expertise from across the company.

“Premise has advanced skills in pipeline and irrigation works and a deep understanding of the challenges associated with delivering infrastructure into regional areas,” Mr Brady said.

“We’re also proudly a regionally-based company with a strong focus on building the strength of local communities and, like for GBIP, it is highly important to us to support local people and businesses throughout this process and to build the skills, capacity and prosperity of the region for the long -term.”

The GBIP is funded by $23.4 million from local irrigators, the highest proportion of private investment in water infrastructure in Queensland’s history, in addition to $47 million from the Federal Government and a conditional commitment of $13.6 million from the Queensland Government.

The Queensland Government has released $6 million of its contribution to fund pre-construction activities.

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