FLOOD ZONE: The view looking towards the left abutment from the right abutment of the proposed dam site.
FLOOD ZONE: The view looking towards the left abutment from the right abutment of the proposed dam site. Contributed

New dam plan goes under as Labor pulls plug

THE LABOR Government has scrapped a proposal to flood-proof thousands of homes in the event of a 2011-scale flood event.

A prefeasibilty study released by the former government in December identified three options for further investigation, two new dams at Willowbank and Linville and raising the wall at Wivenhoe.

The report detailed that a dam at Lower Warrill Creek would affect 15 homes and 110 properties, but would have the potential to save 1200 homes in the event of a 2011-scale flood.

Yesterday Minister for Energy and Water Supply Mark Bailey said Labor had no plans to progress the proposal "at this time".

"The commitment to undertake pre-feasibility studies for potential flood mitigation dams near Willowbank and Linville was made by the previous LNP Government, not Labor," Mr Bailey said.

"I can certainly appreciate the concerns of local residents about any proposal that may impact on them.

"I take this opportunity to reassure local residents that Labor has no plans to progress this matter at this time."

A statement from Mr Bailey received before the QT went to press went on to contradict the strong stance saying he would be seeking a full briefing on the studies.

"I understand that the full feasibility studies had not commenced prior to the January 2015 State Election," he said.

"However, given the nature of the studies, we will seek a full briefing from the Department of Energy and Water Supply."

A map and photograph showing the proposed Willowbank dam site meanwhile surfaced last week despite assurances from the previous state government that the location had not been identified.

UNEARTHED: The Locality Plan – Lower Warrill Creek, found in the pre-feasibility report. The black outline is the footprint of the proposed dam.
UNEARTHED: The Locality Plan – Lower Warrill Creek, found in the pre-feasibility report. The black outline is the footprint of the proposed dam. Contributed

The map was produced after Ipswich City Council requested further information from the State Government on the proposed Willowbank site.

Embedded in a 200-page report released by the previous government in December, the Locality Plan - Lower Warrill Creek, shows the proposed dam's potential footprint extending from Churchbank Weir Reserve past the wetlands near Purga School Road.

The potential flood storage would have adjoined the proposed Willowbank Industrial Park development and would have affected the Cunningham Hwy, a major truck route between Sydney and Brisbane.

Grazing was identified as the major land use likely to be impacted. Mutdapilly State School was outside the inundation area but access roads would have been affected by the proposed dam.

The QT questioned both former Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle and Mr Rickuss for further detail on the location of the proposed Willowbank dam and was told the exact location had not yet been identified.

"That will be a matter for further investigation of lower Warrill to come up with the right answer and the right location," Mr McArdle said in December.

Mr McArdle said a more detailed study would be handed down in December 2015.

Asked early last week for a copy of the map, Member for Lockyer Ian Rickuss said he had viewed a map in the Minister's office but did not have a copy.

"It's only in draft form," Mr Rickuss said. "I saw a copy at the Minister's office. It was still in the early stages."

Key aspects of the site:

  • The storage is situated in a wide valley immediately west of the Teviot Ranges and north-east of Mount Walker.
  • The left abutment of the dam is located adjacent to the Cunningham Hwy.
  • The right abutment is accessed from Middle Rd.
  • Willowbank Raceway is located immediately west of the potential storage.


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