The State Government owned corporation, Sunwater and the Queensland Government’s mismanagement of Paradise Dam has placed farmers in the Bundaberg region in a situation where their livelihoods are negatively impacted, and their futures are now highly uncertain.
Bundaberg farmers have made long-term decisions and invested in the expansion of their businesses – all based on water security and reliability.
With the lowering of Paradise Dam and the release of 100,000 ML of stored water, those businesses are seeing sharp declines in water reliability with many already incurring significant business losses.
At the start of the 2020/21 water year, the first water year after the release of 100,000 ML, the announced allocation was 70% from Paradise Dam. Due to small inflows, the announced allocation was increased to 100% in April 2021.
In the 2021/22 water year, announced allocations are predicted to be approximately 10%.
Bundaberg has traditionally been a large sugarcane and horticultural region but since the construction of Paradise Dam has seen significant avocado, macadamia and other tree crop expansion.
Today, Bundaberg grows approximately 50% of Australia’s avocadoes and macadamias.
It also grows approximately 75% of Australia’s sweet potatoes and are leading producers of a wide range of horticultural products including lychees, bananas, blueberries, capsicum, chilli, citrus, cucumber, coriander, mandarins, mangos, passionfruit, pumpkin, rock melon, strawberries, dragon fruit, fig, ginger, watermelons, zucchini, sweet corn, lettuce and limes.
It also remains a major sugar growing and refining region which supports internationally recognised brands such as Bundaberg Sugar, Bundaberg Brewed Drinks and Bundaberg Rum.