Rookwood water talks open to maximise growth

Published Wednesday, 29 April, 2020 at 05:00 AM

JOINT STATEMENT

Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
The Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham

Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Rookwood Weir advanced today with consultation opening to make sure the water products meet farmer and industry needs to maximise growth and jobs.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Queensland Government would continue to support regional jobs.

“We’re still pushing ahead with projects like this and supporting jobs in regions just like Rockhampton,” the Premier said.

Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said this next significant stage of planning would ensure the $352 million project delivered maximum growth opportunities, with new jobs to farmers and industry.

“The Fitzroy Basin Water Plan is being amended to support the construction and operation of this region-changing piece of water infrastructure,” he said.

“Sunwater and my Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy are bringing options for consultation to the people who know best what they need – farmers, urban water authorities, and industry.

“With their input, Rookwood will deliver the optimum volume of high and medium priority water, the water trading opportunities, in the right mix and where they were needed.

“That’s how we maximise the growth opportunities for agriculture and industry and the local jobs that will flow from this development.”

Member for Rockhampton encouraged locals to get involved with the consultation.

“Work is underway on the $2.2 million-dollar Capricorn Highway intersection upgrade at Gogango and the $7.5 million upgrade at nearby Thirsty Creek Road,” Mr O’Rourke said.

“The Riversleigh bridge tender will soon be awarded and a principal contractor is just weeks away.

“This is our opportunity in CQ to shape our future.”

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga echoed the call for CQ to have its say.

“This project is about our future, about jobs in construction and also future jobs as business and industry use this water to expand and create more jobs and opportunities for local suppliers,” she said.

A Statement of Proposals is now public, outlining several options for how the water in Rookwood Weir could be allocated. All options include high priority water for Gladstone and medium priority water for farmers.

High priority water is more reliable than medium, costs more, and is typically used for town water or industry. Medium priority is typically what farmers buy.

Dr Lynham said input was needed now with the Palaszczuk Government progressing the project with its own funds.

“The Palaszczuk Government has started this project with $66 million in state funds so we can deliver for the region’s farmers.

“And yet Central Queensland is still waiting on commitment from Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack on Federal funding.”

Dr Lynham said the existing water plan includes a number of environmental safeguards, including limiting impacts on turtles and the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

“These safeguards will continue to be met when the weir is constructed and operational,” he said.

“Conducting the consultation now ensures final design and construction of the weir fits hand-in-hand with the framework for sustainably allocating and managing the water resource.”

Dr Lynham said Sunwater would also soon start sales and marketing activity for the Rookwood water, which would eventually include a tender process for water allocations.

Consultation on the Statement of Proposals will be integrated into a draft water plan, which will be released for a second round of feedback in the second half of 2020.

A final water plan will take the submissions on the draft water plan and the final weir design into consideration to ensure the plan is in place around the time construction of the weir starts in 2021.

Consultation is open until 5 pm, 12 June 2020 and include video conferences, phone meetings, as well as the usual online submissions, to meet COVID-19 social distancing requirements. For more information visit dnrme.qld.gov.au

About Rookwood Weir

• Rookwood Weir is being constructed on the Fitzroy River, 66 kilometres south-west of Rockhampton. It will create up to 100 jobs.
• The thousands of megalitres of water it will make available will underpin agricultural growth and supply industrial and urban water in central Queensland.
• The Palaszczuk Government has allocated $149 million over two years to allow detailed planning and design, and on ground works to proceed.
• Construction is scheduled to start by April 2021, for wet commissioning in January 2024.