BREAKING: Massive Rookwood Weir funding breakthrough
THE long-awaited Rookwood Weir project just received another massive boost, taking it significantly closer to a reality.
As the federal government has spent the past fortnight mulling over the business case assessing the economic viability for the weir, federal and state Labor have swooped in to lock in increased funding offers for the $352 million project.
After Bill Shorten yesterday committed $176 million for the federal half of funding for Rookwood Weir (if he was to win the upcoming federal election) the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk chimed in today saying that her government would be prepared to match that offer with their own $176 million commitment.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who was attending the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Canberra today, challenged the Turnbull Government to jointly fund the construction and operation costs of the Rookwood Weir.
She said the Queensland Government would pay half of $352.2 million construction costs and half of the operating costs if the Turnbull Government matched it.
"The business plan for the Rookwood Weir has been completed and released. My Government is prepared to fund half the capital and operating costs for the Weir. I want the Turnbull Government to match our commitment, so we can start construction," Ms Palaszczuk said.
This significant development in the Rookwood Weir project comes after a Rockhampton press conference a fortnight ago where Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham, Keppel MP Brittany Lauga and Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke revealed that the business case for Rookwood Weir project said it was not viable if the federal government was unwilling to add more funding to their existing $130 million commitment.
"Building Queensland has assessed all the facts in its detailed business case and says that the project is not commercial with the Commonwealth offer of $130 million," Dr Lynham said.
"To be commercially viable, it will require substantially increased funding from the federal government.
"Without a fair contribution from Canberra, the price of the water will be too high for farmers and other potential users."
Dr Lynham said he had already written to Agriculture and Water Resources Minister David Littleproud and called upon CQ's federal members Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and Senator Matthew Canavan to speak with their federal counterpart to reconsider its financial commitment in light of the latest, up-to-date costings for the project.
"Go back to your bosses in Canberra with this business case and bring more funds to the table," he said.
"As I've said all along, we need to make the right decision by Queensland taxpayers, including CQ taxpayers.
"We'll all know exactly where we stand, and only then can the state make a call on the project."
He requested that petty politicking be set aside in favour of a bipartisan approach towards negotiating an increased funding agreement between state and federal governments.
The ball has remained in the federal government's court since then to send through an increased funding offer to build Rookwood Weir.
The CQ region now anxiously awaits the federal government's response, more updates will be added as they come to hand.
Rookwood Weir Project benefits for CQ:
- The weir could add 76,000 megalitres of water for agricultural production along the Fitzroy River, as well as an eventual back-up supply for Gladstone, Rockhampton and Livingstone Shire.
- The region has potential for irrigated agricultural production, including high value agriculture such as citrus, grapes and vegetables, as well as cattle feedlots.
- The project would create 100 construction jobs and increased agricultural production would generate more direct jobs.
- For the project to be economically viable, water would need to be used to boost agricultural production substantially.
- The water would be available within two years of construction starting.