The Queensland Government and Commonwealth Government are working together to jointly fund the $1.2 billion Paradise Dam rebuild, with each pledging $600 million towards the project.

Originally built in 2005, Paradise Dam experienced unanticipated damage during the 2011 and 2013 floods and an Independent Commission of Inquiry report from 2020 confirmed structural and stability issues. The dam wall was lowered due to these structural concerns.

The new rebuild project will return the dam to its original height of 67.6m, as part of significant safety improvement works, and allow an expansion of irrigated agriculture in the region and more security for town water supply

Federal Water Minister Tanya Plibersek said allocating $600 million in the Federal Budget was very important to the Bundaberg community.

“Federal Labor promised this $600 million before the election in May and I’m proud to be part of a Government delivering for Queensland communities,” Plibersek commented. “Bundaberg is one of the nation’s most important food bowls and we know a rebuilt Paradise Dam will provide local growers with certainty into the future.”

“This massive $1.2 billion Paradise Dam Improvement Project will restore the dam to its full 300GL capacity and will provide a safe, reliable and secure water supply to local agricultural, industrial and urban communities,” added Queensland Minister for Water Glenn Butcher. “This is a vote of confidence for the farmers and the thriving agricultural sector in the Bundaberg and Burnett region. But more than that, this project will now continue, full steam ahead, giving more than 250 people good, solid jobs during the construction phase and offering long-term economic benefits to the community.”

Minister Butcher said four contracts have already been awarded, for works on the project.

Dam operator Sunwater is currently completing engineering design and detailed work, supported by geotechnical activities. Early works to commence this financial year include planning, design and upgrades of existing roads, investigations into suitable aggregate and other construction materials and planning the mobilisation and establishment at the construction site.

Enabling works for the project are expected to start in 2023, including local road upgrades, with major works at the dam expected to commence in 2024.

The Paradise Dam Improvement project is jointly funded by the Australian Government through the National Water Grid Fund ($600 million) and the Queensland Government ($600 million).