Rookwood Weir stage one water sales process complete
Published Thursday, 17 December, 2020 at 12:05 PM
Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water
The Honourable Glenn Butcher
The $352.2 million Rookwood Weir project reached a significant milestone today with the successful completion of the first stage of the water sales process.
Minister for Water Glenn Butcher said Central Queensland workers and businesses stood to benefit after two bidders secured 30,000 megalitres of water for agricultural use.
“This is another key milestone for a critical infrastructure project that will enhance water security and provide economic opportunities across the region,” Mr Butcher said.
“We know there is an appetite for Rookwood Weir and this water will drive economic recovery and jobs in the Fitzroy region,” Mr Butcher said.
“The water will allow the successful tenderers, Rural Funds Management and Argyle Capital Partners, to pursue expansion plans along the Fitzroy River – and that means local jobs and flow-on impacts in the supply chain for local businesses.
“Rookwood Weir is delivering jobs now, more jobs as construction progresses and then further opportunity for economic growth and investment in the region, especially agricultural growth.”
Mr Butcher said the successful bidders had submitted business plans highlighting how their use of the water would support employment and business opportunities in Central Queensland.
Rural Funds Management Chief Operating Officer Tim Sheridan said the company intends to establish 5,000 hectares of macadamia orchards, with the largest plantings along the Fitzroy River west of Rockhampton.
“The availability of reliable water is critical to our development plans, which will require a significant local workforce. We will also need access to goods and services from local suppliers in the region,” he said.
Argyle Capital Partners Managing Director Kim Morison said the water would allow the business to expand its existing irrigated agriculture operations in the Fitzroy Basin.
“This water enables us to build additional areas of high value permanent crops with our local farming partnerships,” he said. “The development will create additional farm employment and opportunities across a range of industries including irrigation, transport, processing and export packing businesses.”
Sunwater Chief Executive Officer Glenn Stockton said additional water was available for local irrigators as part the second stage of the tender process.
A minimum of 7,500 megalitres will be released in the second stage, with irrigators able to apply for lots of up to 500 megalitres.
“There has been considerable interest in this tranche, which is aimed at smaller operations that need water to expand or diversify their operations,” Mr Stockton said.
“The second tender is expected to be held in 2022.
“Water is an essential ingredient for developing our regional economies.
“The delivery of Rookwood Weir will give Central Queensland farmers – both large and small – new opportunities to grow and create jobs for Queenslanders.”
The completion of stage one of the tender process comes on the same day Sunwater and its construction partners received approval to enter Stage 2 of the Rookwood Weir project.
Work continues on the new Riverslea Bridge, with two other road projects associated with the weir - the $2.2 million Capricorn Highway intersection upgrade at Gogango and the $7.5 million upgrade at Thirsty Creek Road – completed in July.
The Rookwood Weir project is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments, delivered in partnership with Sunwater.
About Rookwood Weir
Rookwood Weir is being constructed on the Fitzroy River, 66 kilometres south-west of Rockhampton.
The thousands of megalitres of water it will make available will underpin agricultural growth and supply industrial and urban water in central Queensland.
The project will provide for more than 200 jobs during construction – with at least 140 of these to be sourced from Central Queensland. Additionally, 95 per cent of project costs will be spent in Queensland.
Construction is scheduled to start by April 2021, and finish in 2023.
Additionally, 95 per cent of project costs will be spent in Queensland.
Media contact: Daniel Lato 0438 891 158