North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority shifts north to help take water west

The Liberal and Nationals Government will relocate the North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority (NQWIA) to Bowen in north Queensland, delivering an economic boost to the region and kicking off a vision to move water west to deliver unprecedented growth and prosperity.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said moving the NQWIA north will put it at the heart of the region it supports.

“This shift will see the North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority strategically located adjacent to the proposed Urannah Dam, and the same region where we are building the Big Rocks Weir project and investigating a future Hells Gates Dam,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“North Queensland is also where we will start on the long-term nation-building task of expanding irrigated agriculture by moving a portion of the abundant resource of water west.

“The Authority will become a bigger organisation, with the people and skills to realise the economic transformation of north Queensland. This expanded organisation will have the task of delivering my strategy of moving water from where it is plentiful, to open up new opportunities for agriculture in the west.

“This will of course require new dams and pipelines. It will be a major undertaking and will change our vision for the future of that region for decades to come.”

Northern Australia holds enormous agricultural opportunity and could be the future food bowl of Asia.

Irrigation is the key to realising this, which is why the Government will work to move water from areas where there is an abundance to towns and communities inland, to irrigate the regional soils of Queensland.

“This Government has started having the discussions to create the entity, similar to what this nation had to develop in the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme, to start the long term plan for this major agricultural irrigation expansion,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“This builds on the broader work we are doing through the National Water Grid Authority to deliver the next generation of water infrastructure for this nation.

“The best thing we can do for this country is ensure a secure future for water, our farmers and our regional communities that continue to drive our economic recovery.”

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen welcomed the announcement.

“This move will create skilled, highly paid jobs in the region, encouraging new families to move to the region to support the local economy, including local businesses and service providers,” Mr Christensen said.

“This will stimulate flow-on jobs later down the track – making this a truly exciting time for north Queensland.”

Last month, the Government announced $108 million to deliver 40 new projects through the National Water Grid Connections funding pathway, improving water security and reliability across the nation.

The $3.5 billion National Water Grid Fund is paving the way to national water security, while promoting local economic activity and job creation along the way – with 70 National Water Grid construction projects in total.

For more information on the North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority, visit www.nqwia.gov.au.

More information on the Australian Government’s broader water infrastructure investments through the National Water Grid, visit www.nationalwatergrid.gov.au.

Media contact:

Deputy Prime Minister – Antony Perry 0477 971 654

Mr Christensen – Lynnis Bonanno 0408 773 207