If former Labor Premier Peter Beattie maintained he could have Rookwood Weir built by 2011, why is the current State Labor Government stalling?
That was the question posed to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and State Labor’s Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne today by federal MPs in Central Queensland.
Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry and Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said both the Premier and Bill Byrne could not honestly say they are interested in the economic growth of CQ without backing the biggest water project in the region’s history.
In a joint statement the Coalition MPs said:
“Water equals growth. Rookwood has the potential to create 2,100 real jobs. We have heard Labor spruik about job creation and the Rockhampton economy while state cabinet is in the city this week. But nowhere has Bill Byrne as Qld Ag Minister ever actually offered support for the region’s biggest water project – even subject to the state business case.
“Eight months ago the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that the federal Coalition would provide $132 million to fund half of the construction cost and the state’s final business case for Rookwood Weir.
“Ironically, former Labor Premier Peter Beattie announced state funding to accelerate the building of Rookwood Weir by 2011. This is evidence that Labor had all the facts back then. But now they strangely claim they need to wait further. It’s been decades – so get on with it!
“Bill Byrne continues to leave a trail of ‘Kodak moments’ when he failed to stand up for Rockhampton. This is the Member for Rockhampton who refused to support his own city as an airport hub for the Adani coal mine because Annastacia Palaszczuk is backing her mates in Townsville.
“This is the same Bill Byrne that played hand in killing off the commercial fishing industry on the Fitzroy River and surrounding Capricorn Coast – putting families out of business and workers on the dole queue.”
Ms Landry and Mr O’Dowd today have taken the extraordinary step of petitioning the State Government to stop delaying the construction of Rookwood Weir.
“The petition is aimed at highlighting Labor’s failure to sign off on the project, denying thousands of jobs to Central Queenslanders.
“This project has the potential to create more than 2,100 local jobs in Central Queensland.
“And we know Rookwood Weir will eventually double farming production along the Fitzroy River Basin to $2 billion annually. That’s a one billion dollar boost to our local economy a year
“Study after study shows this project stacks up. That’s why the Federal Government stumped up $132 million to get the project moving.
“What is alarming is that the Qld Government recently asked Barnaby Joyce to move the Commonwealth funding from Rookwood to Eden Bann. That won’t happen.”
The two federal MPs said the Premier needs to push her Agriculture Minister aside and vocally support Rookwood.
“If her colleague Peter Beattie made the promise years ago, then with the stroke of a pen, Ms Palaszczuk could help us create thousands of new local jobs to boost our economy.
“It begs the question – why is Labor now simply stalling and delaying the project?
“Maybe it has something to do with a dodgy preference deal with the anti-dam Greens in Brisbane.
“The people of Central Queensland want a government that’s willing to build things.
“It’s time to send a message to Premier Palaszczuk while she is in Rockhampton this week. Either commit to building Rookwood, or go home back to Brisbane,” Ms Landry and Mr O’Dowd said.