Farmers in the Bundaberg region are launching a class action against the Queensland Government.

They’re alleging “negligent management and deceptive and misleading conduct” in relation to the handling of Paradise Dam on the Burnett River.

Last September, dam operator Sunwater and State Government announced the dam wall would be lowered by 5 metres for safety and stability reasons.

Lawyer Tom Marland, who is acting on behalf of 2,500 claimants, said the State Government was aware of potential structural issues at the dam not long after it was built in 2005.

“We’ve been trying to work with the State Government since September last year to try and get common sense in relation to the management and future management of Paradise Dam,” he said.

“The political process has failed the Bundaberg region and all of those hardworking farmers that rely on the water from Paradise Dam.”

The legal action follows the judicial review that was filed to the Supreme Court earlier this year in a bid to stop work going ahead on the wall.

“The class action is for the damages and losses which are going to occur as a result of the loss of that water,” Mr Marland said.

Mr Marland said the class action was also against alleged mismanagement.

“There have been millions of dollars of investment poured into this region directly because of the water reliability of Paradise, and there is going to be billions of dollars of lost productivity as a result of the lost water,” he said.

‘Thousands of jobs on the line’

Bundaberg region macadamia and avocado grower Craig Van Rooyen said thousands of jobs were at risk if work continued at the dam.

“We have tried on many occasions to bring sense to this matter but we’ve now unfortunately had to go to class action,” Mr Van Rooyen said.

“As growers and as a community we want this dam remediated to full capacity so that it is safe for the community and also water to supply and grow the region because, at the moment, there are hundreds of millions of dollars on hold waiting to see what happens and that’s thousands of jobs on hold.

“If that wall keeps coming down we are going to lose thousands of jobs not just in agriculture.”

The class action is due to be filed in coming weeks.

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