Central Queensland farmer sees Rookwood's potential
CENTRAL Queensland farmer Larry Acton has heard talk of Rookwood Weir for over two decades, but believes it is finally close to becoming reality.
The former AgForce chairman lives on a property near the Rookwood site and yesterday showed the LNP's Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd and Senator Matt Canavan the site where the weir would potentially sit.
Mr Acton said having a secure water source like the weir would provide security to all property owners in the area.
Although he joked he was getting "a bit long in the tooth” to start growing new crops, Mr Acton said the weir would give other producers the chance to branch out.
"The opportunity for ourselves, but more particularly the area, is boundless and it's time this got underway,” he said.
"We're disappointed it's taken so long to get this underway.
"Water is what we all need to keep our homes, our business going and it would give us the opportunity.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced $130 million for the project in the election campaign, plus $2 million for the business case which is being completed by independent body Business Queensland and is expected by late 2017.
The Environmental Impact Statement is in the final stages of review.
However, the Federal Government has previously expressed frustration over a process they describe as too slow, saying the business case should be completed sooner.
Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne last week told The Morning Bulletin the Queensland Government would only invest taxpayers' money "if it stacks up”.
"We will not waste money on infrastructure just because someone crosses their fingers and hopes it makes sense,” he said.
"There must be a thorough and comprehensive assessment of the project and that is underway.”
Senator Matt Canavan said the visit to the site yesterday re-affirmed his belief it was the ideal place to build the weir.
He said the demand was there to make the project viable, including a need for water in both Gladstone and Livingstone.
"There's a lot of interest from local farmers in the region for this water,” he said.
"We believe ... we can deliver the water for rates that match the current price of water in the region.
"There's enough evidence there to make a decision to do it. There is, of course a lot of work to be done before we start building ... but all those things can be worked out.
"Let's make a decision, come together and decide we are going to do it, to give confidence to the region so people can start planning.”