Burnett MP Stephen Bennett has just returned to Bundaberg after a hectic first week back in parliament, during which he stormed out during a vote involving Paradise Dam. Picture: Chris Burns.
Burnett MP Stephen Bennett has just returned to Bundaberg after a hectic first week back in parliament, during which he stormed out during a vote involving Paradise Dam. Picture: Chris Burns.

MP considers injunction as option to delay Paradise Dam work

A FURIOUS Stephen Bennett has threatened an injunction to stop the work on the Paradise Dam spillway until all commissioned and inquiry reports have been tabled.

Mr Bennett said there were several stakeholders considering a class action, and they had consulted federal Attorney-General Christian Porter.

"I'm not a lawyer and also not clear on the technicalities on how that works but I'm getting … some help from the Federal Government," Mr Bennett said.

Queensland's Resources Minister Anthony Lynham said the work was for the safety of Bundaberg and the Burnett communities.

"The Member for Burnett is showing his lack of care for his community by threatening an injunction on these crucial works," Dr Lynham said.

"Any efforts to stall the progress of the urgent safety work on Paradise Dam is a threat to the community of Bundaberg and Burnett."

Dr Lynham did not commit to replacing the spillway, but said "all options remain on the table".

"We will take into consideration advice from Building Queensland for the long-term options of Paradise Dam.

Mr Bennett's threat of injunction came a day after he stormed out of parliament in protest at an amendment targeting work at Paradise Dam, alongside Bundaberg MP David Batt and Callide MP Colin Boyce.

A Sunwater spokesman said the approvals process to lower the spillway would have been delayed by a year without the amendment.

"This would compromise Sunwater's ability to lower the dam wall by five metres as an interim risk-reduction measure as soon as possible," the spokesman said.

Sunwater said it was assessing the shortlist of tenderers for the project and that a proponent would be announced in May.

Contractors would be on site in April for work to start in May.

The hastening of the approval process was part of the Agriculture and Other Legislation Amendment Bill debated and voted on during the Thursday parliamentary session, which the LNP supported overall in principle due to its actions against farm activism.

The Paradise Dam amendment had its own separate vote which was passed beforehand, which the LNP voted against.

The vote for the bill in full was then taken, during which time the three local MPs left the chamber.

"It was important under no circumstances we didn't hang around," Mr Bennett said.

The LNP had an ally with Katter's Australian Party leader Robbie Katter, who is also against lowering the dam's capacity considering national water scarcity, and because the Government had not committed to full restoration.

Mr Katter showed visible signs of annoyance during the debate as he listened to other speakers.

"The LNP informed me that if I still jumped after David (Batt) then the time would run out and we all wouldn't get the opportunity to vote on that one clause, so I stayed down to help everyone else, which really frustrated me," Mr Katter said.


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