Fitzroy River farmer ready for Rookwood if price is right
UPSTREAM Fitzroy River is barely a creek at the moment but local farmer Colin Dunn can imagine the possibilities that would come with it being 15m deeper, thanks to a future Rookwood Weir.
Duaringa based Mr Dunn, 64, was one of the "little fellas" who stood to benefit from the construction of the $352 million water infrastructure creating an extra 76,000MGL in water storage capacity.
The fifth generation farmer owns a number of properties close to the Fitzroy River, allowing him to run thousands of cattle and grow mung beans, sorghum and corn in the summer and chickpeas and wheat in the winter.
"I think Rookwood Weir is not not only going to benefit myself but everyone along the river and even more importantly those towns below the weir who've got to have secure water down the track," Mr Dunn said.
Speaking with visiting Queensland Minister for Natural Resources Anthony Lynham and Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke, Mr Dunn expressed frustrations with getting his hands on water for irrigation at his main property.
"I've been trying to irrigate for 20 years where I am and I've given up that I'll ever irrigate there," Mr Dunn said.
"You have so many roadblocks, government legislation, time and time again they just keep happening, there's always an excuse.
"But it will be interesting when this weir goes up, water might not be so precious all of a sudden."
Mr Dunn said if a significant quantity of water was to become available, the cropping options would be "endless" but it would come down to water cost.
"It depends on how much the water's going to cost and how much will be available and what you'll let us do with it," he said.
"Not many people would have done their figures yet because they don't know what to do with them."
Dr Lynham said they tried to make water as cheap as possible for farmers but "you've got to rely on someone else to pay full bottle for the water to subsidise farmers and that's usually a town or a mine".
SunWater has developed a number of guiding principles under which the water marketing and contracting should be undertaken.
If and when agreed, representatives from SunWater will embark on an engagement process with existing relevant community stakeholders and interested parties to garner the ideas, options, constraints and opportunities relating to the detail to be developed for a tender process.