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2100 CQ jobs in limbo as State and Feds fight over $130m

WHAT A DAM FINE QUESTION: What is going on with the Rookwood Weir's funding arrangements?
WHAT A DAM FINE QUESTION: What is going on with the Rookwood Weir's funding arrangements? Graphic: Centro Art

2100 POTENTIAL jobs in central Queensland are in limbo as Australia's and Queensland's leaders fight over $130 million.

A spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has refused to confirm if the Federal Government's "verbal offer" to double their funding commitment for Rookwood Weir to $260 million was still on the table.

The project is expected to create 2100 jobs and give water sustainability for Gladstone's current industry, future projects and central Queensland's agriculture sector.

Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry revealed the additional $130 million offer was made during the Council of Australian Governments meeting in June.

Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher said he wasn't aware of the offer - but he was happy to cop the latest "hurry along" from the Federal Government.

 

BRING IT ON: Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher won't turn down $130 million.
BRING IT ON: Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher won't turn down $130 million. Mike Richards GLA190717WORK

Mr Butcher said it would be a game changer for the project's business case, which is still being assessed by Building Queensland.

"$260 million for a project is nothing to sneeze at," he said.

"But if they were fair dinkum they would've written something to (Ms Palaszczuk) officially."

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce's spokesman said the offer would have meant the Federal Government would build and own the weir.

However this would require special state legislation, given Queensland's constitutional responsibility for water infrastructure.

When asked if this offer was still "on the table", the spokesman said: "Ideally, we want the Queensland Government to own and manage Rookwood Weir".

 

L-R Michelle Landry and Barnaby Joyce in Rockhampton to talk about Rookwood Weir.
L-R Michelle Landry and Barnaby Joyce in Rockhampton to talk about Rookwood Weir. Chris Ison ROK030817crookwood1

"When that suggestion was made, the Premier undertook to have a contractual offer the following day," Mr Joyce's statement said.

"Not only did she not come back with any offer, but her own Labor Minister, Mark Bailey, has confirmed that the Premier didn't even speak to him about the proposal."

Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd, who helped Ms Landry launch a petition telling the State Government to get moving on the weir's approval, remained coy about his knowledge of the additional funding.

"The Deputy Prime Minister advised me the offer was made to Premier Palaszczuk ... however the State Government has never come back to take up the offer," Mr O'Dowd said.

Gladstone Area Water Board chief operating officer, John Tumbers previously said plans for the project were looking favourable.

Topics:  barnaby joyce glenn butcher michelle landry rookwood weir



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