Calls for changes to dam assessment

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning has backed calls for a review of the assessment procedures used for dam infrastructure projects.

Research commissioned by the Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (FNQROC) – Long Term Analysis of the Role of Dams – has exposed the shortcomings of the ‘full cost recovery’ approach used by the State when assessing viable dam projects.

Under current assessment models in Queensland, the full costs of dam construction and operation must be fully recovered from water users within 30 years of the build.

“This is a grossly short-sighted approach that fails to assess the full economic benefits of any dam,” Cr Manning said.

“Dams typically have a lifetime of 150 years or more, so it is disingenuous to place cost recovery timeframes of just 30 years on such infrastructure.

“Take for example Tinaroo Dam, which was built 60 years ago and is expected to still be here in 100 years.

“Today, the dam’s economic footprint is vast.

“It underpins Mareeba’s agricultural industry which is estimated to be worth over $450 million each year, not to mention it’s economic value in supporting numerous other industries and communities in the Far North.”

Cr Manning said that failure to invest in critical, long-term infrastructure was irresponsible.

“Our generation makes decisions that affect the welfare and integrity of future generations,” Cr Manning said.

“It is essential that we commit to building the critical infrastructure required for future growth and prosperity; not doing so would be negligent and irresponsible.”

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