Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry has called on local councillors across Central Queensland to state their opinion on Rookwood Weir – declaring “you either want it or you don’t.”
The call was made in Federal Parliament in Canberra today.
Fed up with a lack of encouraging support for the project from state Labor MPs, including temporary Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne, Ms Landry said civic leaders –including mayors and individual councillors - needed to ‘clearly and unambiguously’ state their position on the weir.
Ms Landry welcomed and acknowledged the strong support for Rookwood from Livingstone Shire Mayor Bill Ludwig and his council team on the Capricorn Coast.
However, she warned other councils not to be complacent about the project.
“The Federal Government has put $132 million on the table for Rookwood Weir. Now we are hearing whispers of white-anting of the project behind closed doors. If that is the case then these people risk losing the project forever,” Ms Landry warned in Federal Parliament today, “along with its 2,100 new jobs and the opportunity to double agricultural production to $2 billion a year.”
Ms Landry said: “For nearly 15 years the need for Rookwood Weir was all some councils would talk about. I have been dismayed by the relative silence from some local governments since the Commonwealth announced it would back the Rockhampton, Livingstone and Gladstone communities to the hilt, by paying half the construction costs.
“It’s now time for all councillors in CQ to clearly state their current position: there is no middle ground here - either you want Rookwood Weir 100% or you don’t. But be clear, there is no other major water project within an hour of Rockhampton that will be funded by the Commonwealth.”
Ms Landry directed these comments in Parliament to local councillors: “You are either with the Australian Government on this important project for your region or you are not. And if you aren’t supportive, then you should be prepared for the funding to go to another state and explain to your communities why they will miss out on jobs and growth.
“Over the last three years I have worked my guts out to secure $132 million for Rookwood from the Australian Government. Before I came into office, it wasn’t even on a single green or white paper to be considered for water funding in Canberra.
“Now it has both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister’s full support. But while state Labor dance a political game over our region’s future and want to spend the Commonwealth money elsewhere, there is a deafening silence from some key local councils in Central Queensland about the future of Rookwood.”
Ms Landry said she needed to know by the end do this week if civic leaders across Central Queensland were in favour of the project proceeding.
“Based on historic modelling and today’s population trends, the State Department of Environment and Water has already identified that Rockhampton, Livingstone and Gladstone are in danger of running out of water for three years out of every 100 years. A problem Rookwood would resolve.
“Further to this, Infrastructure Australia has already identified this region as one of four regions across Australia with the potential for significant growth if water infrastructure was put in place here,” Ms Landry said.
“These, along with the potential for jobs and $1billion a year in extra agricultural production, are compelling reasons to publicly back support for what the Commonwealth Government is trying to achieve with Rookwood,” Ms Landry said.