Australian Dream Of Becoming A 'Food-Basket' By Finding A Water Supply
'Water Supply Key' news@ruralweekly.com by Erica Muree (24/4/2015)

At Least 20 Crops suitable

DAMS or a better water supply could turn Coalstoun Lakes Valley into a food basket for the nation.

Farmers and politicians recently visited the area to discuss options for making the valley a hotspot for horticulture.

For North Burnett Regional Council Mayor Don Waugh, standing on the side of the lake hill was an eye-opener.

"Driving through the valley, you know just how fertile the area is," Mr Waugh said. "It has the potential to feed Australia but all that is missing is a regular supply of water."

Before the tour, Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd joined Cr Waugh for a meeting at the Coalstoun Lakes Hall with district farmers who have, due to drought, just gone through two seasons without a viable crop.

Mr O'Dowd said with the Federal Government's Better Region's Project and a dams program, he felt it was timely to raise the subject of water.

Farmer Mark Rackemann said he knew what this country here was capable of.

"This soil is magic," Mr Rackemann said. "It can grow a crop on two falls of rain, but needs that extra bit of water to finish it off."

BGA Kingaroy Agri Services' Ian Crosthwaite tabled a study, 'Agricultural Resources Assessment of Coalstoun Lakes', that outlined at least 20 different crops which were suitable to be grown in the valley.

"Anything can be grown here — just need the right kind of seasons," Mr Crosthwaite said.

Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd took the farmers' plight to Canberra for the National Party's "think tank". The farmers outlined the various studies undertaken in past years before Paradise Dam was built.

One option in one of those studies was to build a dam on Barambah Creek at Ban Ban Springs.

Mr Waugh raised the topic of on-farm storage infrastructure utilising the water in times of flood, while others agreed a pipeline from Paradise Dam was feasible. All agreed they needed the security of the land for the next generation

"We don't care how we do it. We just want part of the action," Mr Rackemann said.