Borumba Dam
29 April, 2022 · 6 MIN READ

Locals to help steer Borumba’s pumped hydro future

A 19-member group of environmental, business and community representatives have met in Gympie.

A 19-member group of environmental, business and community representatives have met in Gympie to help steer the future of the proposed Borumba Pumped Hydro Project.

Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said the pumped hydro project was key to unlocking Queensland’s clean energy transformation by storing renewable electricity from solar and wind and using it to power industry and jobs.

Mr de Brenni said the pumped hydroelectricity scheme near Imbil west of Gympie would create 2000 construction jobs but the project had to stack up for locals.

“For this project to be a success, before it can power homes, communities and industries we need to hear from locals who know their land, their communities, their environment and their industries the best,” Mr de Brenni said.

“The Borumba Pumped Hydro Project Stakeholder Reference Group will be critical to achieving outcomes for the community and Queensland, including on issues that have emerged as fundamental to building social licence for the project – that there are no impacts to environmental low flows, there is no off-river storage infrastructure on the Mary River, the economic viability of the project and a lasting community legacy.”

The Borumba Pumped Hydro Project Reference Group will meet quarterly, with the first meeting to be held on 21 April at The Pavilion Conference and Reception Centre, 77 Exhibition Rd Southside, Gympie.
The group complements a wider program of stakeholder engagement which also includes community information sessions and online material.

Representatives include


Represented by Chairperson Ian Mackay

The aim of the MRCCC is to promote a common view of a sustainable and productive catchment.

The group employs nine environmental scientists who provide technical advice and financial incentives to rural land managers to protect the Mary River catchment’s biodiversity values.

Ian Mackay is a dedicated river spokesman focussed on water issues in the Mary River Catchment and a member of the committee’s Kenilworth Water Watch Network. Mr Mackay has a long history of participation in environmental and conservation organisations in the region.


Represented by Narelle McCarthy, Liaison and Advocacy Officer

Established in 1980, the Sunshine Coast Environment Council (SCEC) is the peak environmental advocacy organisation and regional Conservation Council for the Greater Sunshine Coast region.

SCEC currently represents 60 member groups primarily working in natural resource management, conservation, environmental restoration and protection and sustainability. This membership includes almost 10,000 individuals with an additional 5000 people as SCEC supporters.

Narelle McCarthy is SCEC’s Liaison and Advocacy Officer. She has experience working for not-for-profit organisations as well as Federal Parliament and has been actively working, volunteering and researching across the environment and conservation sectors for 20 years.


Represented by David Arthur, President

The Wide Bay Burnett Conservation Council (WBBCC) was established around the time that K’Gari (then known as Fraser Island), the Great Sandy Straits and the Cooloola Sandmass were proposed for World Heritage listing.

The Wide Bay Burnett Environmental Council (WBBEC) was established after initiating a legal action that demonstrated the potential for environmental harm if an infrastructure proposal went ahead.

WBBEC continues a range of science-based activities to help protect the region’s biodiversity, liaising between local member groups, providing advice to State and Local government and instigating investigations into reports of environmental harm from potential breaches of approval conditions/environmental legislation.

David Arthur's advocacy on environmental and ecological issues is compelled by his understanding of natural science, particularly geophysical processes through deep time, and informed by studies in process engineering and water management.


Represented by Dave Copeman, Director

The Queensland Conservation Council is the peak body for Queensland’s environmental movement, representing over 50 community environment groups across the state.

Established in 1969, the QCC works to protect, conserve and sustain Queensland’s environment. The Council’s current campaigns include advocating for action on climate change, the increased uptake of renewable energy and the expansion of protected areas in Queensland.

Dave Copeman has a background in campaigning and community organising. He was the founding lead organiser of the Queensland Community Alliance, and before that worked as a union, human rights and pro-democracy campaigner and a political advisor.


Represented by Graeme Elphinstone, Board Member

The Gympie District Beef Liaison Group is one of the largest and longest serving independent Beef Industry Groups in Queensland, formed in 1982. It has a diverse membership of 300 family and business members, drawn largely from the broader Gympie Region, which encompasses the Wide Bay, South Burnett, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane Valley districts.

The group’s mission is to organise extension and training activities for the benefit of beef producers and the beef industry in the Gympie Region. The group worked closely with the Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee on the Reef Trust Grazing Lands Project from 2008–2020.


Represented by Petra Van Beek, President

The Gympie Chamber of Commerce represents business interests in Gympie and ensures the region is represented and promoted at broader forums to attract the benefits of being in business in Queensland.
The Gympie Chamber of Commerce advocates for the small business community at all levels of government and supports business networking activities in the region.

Ms Van Beek has over 30 years experience both nationally and internationally with small to large companies and not-for-profit organisations. Her areas of expertise include the strategic development and implementation of human resource management, organisational cultural transformation, community engagement, organisational dynamics and team building, executive coaching and professional development.


Represented by Sotera Trevaskis

An initiative of the Australian Government, Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett is part of a national network of Committees made up of local leaders who work with all levels of government, business and community groups to support the economic development of their regions.

RDA Committees have an active and facilitative role in their communities and a clear focus on growing strong regional economies to develop their competitive advantages, identify economic opportunities and attract investment.

Sotera Trevaskis has been newly appointed as the Director Regional Development, Regional Development Australia, Wide Bay Burnett.


The Lake Borumba Fish Stocking Association (LBFSA) is a member of the Freshwater Fish Stocking Association of Queensland (FFSAQ) and is an active stocking group whose mission is to gain sufficient funds to purchase the maximum allowable number of eligible native fish fingerlings to stock Lake Borumba, thereby ensuring a successful 'Put, Grow and Take Fishery'.

The Association works closely with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

  • Ian Stehbens – Imbil local, geographer and peace builder
  • Don MacAulay – community representative
  • Gary Rozynski – local irrigator and landholder

Gary Rozynski is a multi-generational local dairy farmer and has been living in the Burnett region his whole life.

Currently, Gary and his wife Linda run three properties and manage the milking of approximately 300 dairy cows daily.

During the course of his career Gary has developed a keen interest in the region’s water supply and water allocations and has worked closely with Sunwater and Seqwater customer councils.


Imbil Rural Watch is a branch of Neighbourhood Watch Queensland which assists Queensland Police to address local issues and improve personal safety and security.

Sergeant Bill Greer is Imbil’s community police officer and is actively involved in the management of Imbil Rural Watch and has extensive knowledge of the local community.



The Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) was founded in 1885 as the peak union body in Queensland with 26 affiliated unions representing the interests of Queensland workers who will deliver and operate the project.