The Urannah dam project near Mackay has been supported by $15m in federal grants since 2016.
The Urannah dam project near Mackay has been supported by $15m in federal grants since 2016.

Canavan calls out Labor’s ‘lack of action’ on new CQ dam

SOME of Rockhampton’s top Federal Government officials have today fired back at claims the proposed Urannah Dam project will fail to live up to expectations.

Speaking this morning from the Fitzroy River’s edge, Senator Matt Canavan dismissed reports stating the $2.9 billion project would return as little as 26 cents per day.

Reports from southern media also further claimed other benefits – job opportunity, environment impacts – had also been oversold.

“I’ve seen those figures, but those figures have been put out there by a Greens activist group. What we have in the Federal and State Governments is the actual detailed business case,” Senator Canavan said.

Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry MP and Senator for Queensland Matt Canavan discuss the Urannah Dam project.
Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry MP and Senator for Queensland Matt Canavan discuss the Urannah Dam project.

“In the detailed business case, this project does stack up. This does make economic sense.”

Mr Canavan said those claims came from the Greens’ long-held beliefs coal mining would be non-existent in the next 10 to 20 years.

“Our view is that we want to support all our industries in our region – coal and farming – and it does stack up if we get behind these sectors,” he said.

His rebuttal comes amid both he and Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry’s appeal to the re-elected Palaszczuk Government.

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Urannah Creek, site of the proposed Urannah Dam, west of Mackay.
Urannah Creek, site of the proposed Urannah Dam, west of Mackay.

Labor, he added, had yet to act on its election promise to back the Mackay-based development.

“We’ve got to look at the next Rookwood Weir and that’s why we’re calling upon the State Government to get going on with the Urannah Dam that they promised a few months ago,” he said.

“We’ve got $2 billion in the next fund in Canberra, we’re just waiting for applications and we have received not one [application] from the Queensland Government.”

It comes following a recent $10 million feasibility study – criticised by the Greens – with a draft business case set to be finalised come January next year.

Senator for Queensland claims the state government is yet to act on its earlier election promises.
Senator for Queensland claims the state government is yet to act on its earlier election promises.

The project is expected to irrigate around 25,000 hectares of land, hold a 1.5 megalitre capacity, generate a combined 17500 jobs – 600 of those long-term.

“The best thing we could do to help recover from the coronavirus is to create jobs and one of the best ways to do that in Central Queensland is to build dams.”

Ms Landry reiterated earlier sentiments, saying water-based projects proved crucial to the area.

“People of Collinsville are reliant on this with the coal-fired power station.”

“I’ve said since our last federal election that my major priority is on water projects. Right across the country water is the most important asset that we have.”

Minister for Water Glenn Butcher refutes claims of inaction for the proposed Urannah Dam. Photo: Liam Kidston
Minister for Water Glenn Butcher refutes claims of inaction for the proposed Urannah Dam. Photo: Liam Kidston

In response, Minister for Water Glenn Butcher said water security in Queensland was a high priority for the Palaszczuk Government.

“If the Federal LNP Government were serious about water security in Queensland, it wouldn’t have taken them four years to put their money on the table for Rookwood Weir.”

“We gave the green light for the next stage of assessment for Urannah Dam near Mackay in December last year and we’ve made it a coordinated project to reduce red tape,” he said.

Mr Butcher added Bowen Collinsville Enterprise had used $10 million from the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund to deliver a detailed business case and environmental impact statement.

“We have been advised BCE proposes to have a detailed business case complete by late 2021.”

“We have committed $1.2 billion to water infrastructure across this state since 2017, delivering more than 2300 jobs to regional Queensland,” said Mr Butcher.



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