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Thursday, 13 February 2020
Page: 1252

Mr LAMING (Bowman) (16:40): With major rainfall events all over the east coast, I recognise that many homes and many people's lifestyles will be under threat, and we advise everyone, where possible, to follow all of the relevant local emergency recommendations. In South-East Queensland, of course, the rainfall events haven't come a moment too soon. Spared most of the ferocity of this year's bushfire season, we are seeing heavy rains in Queensland.

In my area, one of over 30 dams in the SEQ water network is Leslie Harrison Dam. It was built many decades ago and then expanded, with higher floodgates for greater capacity, taking it up to 23 gigalitres. It lost its dam gates back in 2014—the expectation of the community was that these gates had been removed for routine general maintenance—taking the capacity of this dam back down to 12 gigalitres. If leaving this dam as just a shadow of its former self were not bad enough, we've also lost the capacity to be able to store water in our local area. One of the biggest freshwater sources, and the freshwater source most closely located to the CBD of Brisbane, is a shadow of its former glory.

Since then we've seen a delicate kabuki by Labor MPs, trying to avoid the reality, which is: there is very good evidence for upgrading and maintaining dams for safety reasons, as these requirements increase every few years, but the data upon which we make these decisions should be made public. Great engineering firms have done this kind of work, but for some strange reason, like a dog sitting on a haystack, state Labor won't release the report. There's something that they're exceedingly paranoid about. We'd like to know the reasons why this dam is a shadow of its former glory.

This is liquid gold, falling over a spillway and into Moreton Bay. This dam was almost full, at its low level, when these rainfalls arrived. We hit 100 per cent, obviously, within a few hours, and now everything in this current low-pressure rainfall event is basically spewing into Moreton Bay, over the top of my local Capalaba Warriors rugby league club, through the Capalaba Bulldogs soccer club, all over the golf club and course, and all over the race track.

Of course, you know what will happen? When it settles down, after the locals have been working themselves to the bone, putting in sandbags, trying to protect assets, trying to lift material out of harm's way, the state local MP will turn up like Santa, give out sports grants and pat himself on the back—the same state MP that won't even fess up to why these gates are not on the dam, returning its capacity to its former glory. We know the one-sentence answer: it's too expensive to put them back on. We could respect that if we could see the evidence, but, as soon as you ask the Labor Party for that evidence, it is simply not released. So, of course, that makes us concerned.

Our concern is that the scope of the GHD report—although I'm sure it was extremely detailed, methodical and systematic—only examined two possibilities: one to leave the gates off and the other to put them back on. Our question is a simple one: what other options have been explored for this very, very important watercourse? Strategically located right next to a potential future 2032 Brisbane Olympic bid for South-East Queensland, with swimming, shooting, cycling just up the road—virtually walking distance away—this is a very important natural asset. All we're asking for is a mature, considered and serious look at whether it can become the great recreational asset we think Brisbane needs.

It's a beautiful lake. It's not just about having a high-tide mark that pleases residents as they commute to work; it's about letting that dam be everything that it can be, contributing to the grid. And if it's not making a significant contribution then remove it from the grid when capacity is high and let locals use it for recreational purposes like non-combustion motorised movement on the bay, fishing and canoeing. These are things that everyone loves doing, and it's nice to be able to do them on a freshwater watercourse as well. Many sports rely on fresh water—and we don't have to do it with motorised craft, so we can look after those who live near the lake. In conclusion, right now we have a state MP who is hiding under his desk and blocking the odd constituent. Every time he gets a Facebook message he hits the delete button, hiding under his desk, unable to come and talk to the locals about it. Fess up about why this dam is such a disgrace. It's a simple message: Don Brown, lift your game. Explain why our dam is in such a shambles. Talk to us about the economic options and, for goodness sake, release the report that will inform this entire debate.