Central Queensland dam sites on nation's ‘priority list’

MICHELLE Landry yesterday got more than she bargained for when she found out four Central Queensland dam projects were on the nation's "priority" list.

Last month Prime Minister Tony Abbott was handed a shortlist of 30 sites for new or expanded dams as part of a plan to boost agricultural production and mining output in northern Australia.

The Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper released yesterday showed Connors Dam (between Sarina and Moranbah), the raising of Eden Bann and construction of Rookwood weirs (near Rockhampton) and the Urannah Dam (near Collinsville), were key projects on the Federal Government's agenda.

Nathan Dam, on the Dawson River, was mentioned in the report but considered "less advanced" in the development stages.

The green paper reported that these sites were among those likely to be suitable for further consideration.

Ms Landry (pictured) and Rockhampton-based Senator Matthew Canavan have extensively lobbied for key water infrastructure projects in Capricornia over the past few weeks.

"There is long way to go, but we are slowly pushing these important projects further up the food chain where they need to be before they can eventually get the green light," Ms Landry said. Agforce Cattle Board president Howard Smith said while he hadn't read the green paper properly, he was eager to see the Federal Government action the recommendations in the report, "rather than stow it in a back drawer somewhere".

"In the past we have seen several Federal Government recommendations to help one of the main economic pillars of the Australian economy (agriculture) but they just end up in a pile behind a desk," he said.

"We need strong support."

Agforce president Ian Burnett said the green paper presented an opportunity to create a firm and concerted base for the future policy direction of agriculture in Australia. Visit the agriculturalcompetitiveness website.

Key findings

  • The Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper outlines nine agricultural policy principles including:
  • Farm gate returns
  • Building the agricultural infrastructure needed for the 21st century
  • Promoting access to markets
  • Reducing unnecessary regulation

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