WATER INFRASTRUCTURE FOR CAPRICORNIA
We need to invest in water to create new jobs in our farming sector, which in turn will bring more wealth to our community.
On May 26 2016, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that the Liberal-National Coalition would invest $130 million towards the construction of Rookwood Weir near Rockhampton.
Scientists and other experts estimate the project would create 2,100 new jobs and would eventually double agricultural production to $2 billion a year in the Fitzroy Basin. When using the economic multipler of three, that over 6,000 indirect jobs for the region. Imagine the impact this would have on small business, on accommodation, on transport.
Ken O’Dowd and I fought hard to secure this funding.
On top of this the Coalition also announced a further $2 million to help the State Government pay for its final business case for the project to proceed.
In December 2016, Queensland’s Coordinator General approved the final environmental impact study required to ‘greenlight’ Rookwood.
But there is one last hurdle. The state Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk still hasn’t signed-off on the state’s contribution towards Rookwood.
This is despite the fact that two key bodies - Gladstone Area Water Board and the state owned Sunwater are key proponents.
It's also despite the fact that the Queensland Member for Rockhampton also happens to be the Minister for Agriculture. He has failed to show public support, labelling this once in a lifetime investment as a 'Tory project'.
I will continue to fight for this project so that Central Queensland can benefit from Australia's record agricultrual growth.
Although there is some way to go and further communication required with local landholders, I am backing this project for partial Commonwealth funding, including $3 million towards the feasibility study. It would provide important jobs and the opportunity to open up new areas of unexplored agriculture.
Proponents are adamant that Urannah would give remotes places like Collinsville in Capricornia, a new lease of life by offering new irrigation industries and employment opportunities.
According to regional economic group, Bowen Collinsville Enterprise (BCE), the Urannah Dam could be used for organic horticulture and organic sugar production; as well as coal mining in the Bowen Basin, and to supply electricity for the town of Collinsville.
Collinsville has been hit by the local coal downturn and needs a boost.
I continue to join the Member for Dawson George Christensen in calling on the federal and state governments to support the construction of the Urannah Dam under the Northern Australia process.
Such a dam would open up new agricultural land - with the potential to triple the current cane production industry in the region and double the size of other agricultural production. And importantly, it has the potential to double the current agriculture workforce in the region.
It is estimated that the dam has the capacity to generate $323 million over 25 years; and as I said would help to repopulate the Collinsville community and give a major boost to business in the area.
Of course, this project requires the support of federal, state and local governments - especially in allowing private investment to be part of the project.
I've has visited the site near Collinsville a number of times and hasspoken to local people and local business owners. The community is adamant that the development of Urannah Dam and a power station at Collinsville will provide a new lease of life to this once booming coal region.
Local farmers have also told methat it also means employment through extra grazing opportunities. They are hopeful an old local abattoir could be reopened instead of sending cattle to Bowen.
THERESA CREEK DAM
I know that water is gold for graziers and farming communities. This is no more apparant then in Clermont with the Theresa Creek Dam.
I was proud at the 2016 Federal electio to commit to providing $225,000 for the development of a works programme for the construction and upgrade of major water infrastructure for Clermont, including augmentation and remediation works on the Theresa Creek Dam. Groundwater options will also be considered.