CANEGROWERS Isis Chairman Mark Mammino says he is in a state of shock seeing demolition work underway at Paradise Dam on the Burnett River.
“As a third-generation farmer near Childers, working some of the farmland that my grandfather established 100 years ago, it is a very sad sight,” Mr Mammino said.
“As a child I would often listen to the harrowing stories from my grandfather and father of how they struggled through countless droughts and my worst memories as a farmer are in a period when my father and I ploughed out the same block of cane three times in five years because it was too dry for the crop to grow.
“We finally were able to connect to the irrigation scheme in the early 1990’s.
“It is now a travesty to see work underway to lower the dam wall, such an important piece of infrastructure in our area and one that has given me security for several years.
“We all want a safe dam that protects the lives and livelihoods of the Bundaberg region.
“We need all sides of politics to stop playing games and treating us likes pawns on a chess board – particularly as this is a state election year.
“We need SunWater and the political leaders to sit down with us and develop a plan for the future,” Mammino said.
CANEGROWERS has negotiated and secured commitments and clarity around the availability of water to irrigators including that existing water allocations will be honored while restoration and repair work is underway.
“While these commitments are important, our concerns for the future of agriculture in our region remain,” Mr Mammino said.
“We need the dam fixed. It needs to be remediated to its original capacity in the shortest amount of time possible.
“We need water security to continue the growth in agriculture that has been occurring since this irrigation scheme was first established.
“Agriculture is united across the region to this end.”