Construction of Rookwood Weir now one step closer
Construction of Rookwood Weir has taken another positive step forward with the Australian and Queensland governments moving closer towards finalising arrangements for the project's development and operations.
The Australian and Queensland governments are working to a timeline where the Weir's construction is due to commence in the 2019 dry season and be completed by late 2021.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Federal Liberals and Nationals' Government is determined to see the Weir built—putting an investment of $176 million on the table.
Mr McCormack welcomed the Queensland State Government's written commitment this week to work in partnership and advance talks with the Federal Government to finalise a workable agreement and project structure.
He said the Rookwood Weir is set to deliver an estimated 2,100 jobs and expand irrigated agricultural production in the Lower Fitzroy by up to $1 billion per year.
“Water is the lifeblood which empowers regional communities and economies throughout Australia while making a significant contribution to our nation,” Mr McCormack said.
“Building the Rookwood Weir shows our Government's commitment to developing regional communities and we welcome moves towards working together with the Queensland state government to help ensure shovels are in the ground in 2019 to build this project.”
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the Australian Government is committed to seeing Rookwood Weir built—a commitment which is backed by its investment of $176 million.
“Important discussions regarding funding arrangements for the Weir have been ongoing with the Queensland Government since June 2018 and we have now received Queensland's response proposing an alternative structure which we welcome,” Senator Canavan said.
“The two governments will now move ahead with settling governance and funding arrangements, which could be finalised as early as next month.”
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said dams created jobs in rural and regional areas.
“The Nationals believe in dams because dams create jobs,” Minister Littleproud said.
“We've pushed and funded this project all the way.
“Dams are one way we can increase farm production as we push towards the NFF's goal of $100 billion of farm production by 2030.”
Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said work to build the Rookwood Weir is already underway with SunWater establishing a project team to do the necessary planning and pre-construction works required for construction of the weir wall to begin during the 2019 dry season.
“Over the coming months these activities will become more apparent as planning progresses to construction,” Ms Landry said.
“As the project moves to a construction phase, SunWater will release information to keep landholders and communities informed of construction activities and processes for the sale of water.”
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said the Australian Government is a long-term supporter of the Rookwood Weir project because it will help deliver water to drive greater economic productivity in the region.
“Better late than never, but I welcome the Queensland State Government starting to get behind this monumental project we've been championing for years,” he said.
“Every single time I talk with any bushie or farmer, water security and water infrastructure is always of critical concern."
“People working hard on the land don't want more bureaucratic interference for a project to boost all of Central Queensland. This is a project for more than one town or region.”
Mr O'Dowd said Rookwood Weir will provide water security and jobs for thousands of people in Gracemere, Yeppoon, Rockhampton, Biloela and Gladstone.
“We need this show to get on the road and I am pleased to see we are getting closer to action,” said Mr O'Dowd.
“Every Central Queenslander should be excited by this project and I for one can't wait for it to begin delivering for us all.”
The Federal Liberals and Nationals' Government invested $2 million in May 2016 to fast track the Rookwood Weir feasibility study to design and complete the business case needed for the project.
A further $130 million was committed in June 2016 to fund the Weir's construction, subject to outcomes of the business case.
In April 2018, that funding commitment was increased by $46.1 million from $130 million to $176.1 million to provide the $352.2 million needed for the project—again based on the business case outcome.