RIGHT TO KNOW: Opposition leader Deb Frecklington and Burnett MP Stephen Bennett at Paradise Dam where they said a parliamentary inquiry is necessary.
RIGHT TO KNOW: Opposition leader Deb Frecklington and Burnett MP Stephen Bennett at Paradise Dam where they said a parliamentary inquiry is necessary.

Nanango MP reacts to national media campaign

THE MAJORITY of Australia’s major media organisations have joined forces to take a stance for press freedom across the nation.

Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington said that the media played an important role in maintaining democracy in Australia.

“The LNP believe in openness and accountability and the important role of journalists in our democracy,” Ms Frecklington said.

“The media must be able to hold all levels of government to account.

LOCAL MEDIA: The South Burnett Times ran the Right To Know campaign on the front of their Tuesday, October 20 edition.
LOCAL MEDIA: The South Burnett Times ran the Right To Know campaign on the front of their Tuesday, October 20 edition.

“In fact, the LNP instigated the publication of Ministerial Diaries and open data.

“Unfortunately the Palaszczuk Labour Government have delivered cover-up after cover-up for the past five years.

“Labor have form redacting reports or are keeping them secret.

“One example which is affecting us locally is the safety report into Paradise Dam,”

In late September, the State Government announced a decision to release 105,000ML of water by lowering Paradise Dam near Biggenden’s spillway by five metres, citing safety concerns.

However, despite repeated calls, they have refused to make publicly available the report which recommended the dam’s lowering.

“There are serious questions over Paradise Dam and Labor must provide the answers, but they have refused to provide this information,” Mrs Frecklington said.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk has failed to deliver a transparent government and that’s why we need a robust press to keep Labor to account,” she said.

North Burnett and Bundaberg mayors and councillors at a meeting with Sunwater at Paradise Dam on October 3.
North Burnett and Bundaberg mayors and councillors at a meeting with Sunwater at Paradise Dam on October 3.

Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said it took time for technical experts to get all the available information.

“Once that information is available, I am sure that it will be passed on to the people of the community,” Dr Lynham said.

“We can all rest assured that the Palaszczuk government will always put community safety first.

“I acted immediately on advice from the technical experts at SunWater.

“They advised me that the action that needed to be taken was to lower dam capacity to 42 per cent and also to lower the spillway by five metres.

“There was a technical review panel and at the present time an overseas expert from the United States is reviewing SunWater’s findings,” he said.

Under the current weather forecasts, Dr Lynham said Paradise Dam was safe and they were making sure that the community is prepared for any event that could possibly come through.

“We know that with climate change any cyclonic events are possible throughout Queensland and we are making sure that the community is prepared,” he said.

Dr Lynham also said the mayor of Bundaberg realises the fact that safety comes first.

“He has said that we must ensure that we understand the risk to homes and livelihoods and the adequacy of the current safety arrangements.

“The mayor has also said that the dam operators are doing the right thing by prioritising safety,” he said.

The Right to Know coalition was originally formed in 2007 to put pressure on policymakers to improve transperancy and reform rules affecting the ability of journalists to report issues on the public interest.

It currently includes Newscorp, Nine, the ABC, SBS, The Guardian and journalist’s union the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

In support of the movement last Tuesday, October 22 the South Burnett Times ran a front cover that featured the national campaign.