Flying federal politicians look to future infrastructure
THREE Federal Government MPs take to the air tomorrow as part of a campaign for major infrastructure projects in Central Queensland, particularly dams.
Senator Matt Canavan, Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry and Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd are flying over dam sites between Rockhampton, Moranbah and Emerald, and talking to local communities about opportunities in the region.
Later this month, they will take a report on CQ infrastructure projects to senior Government Ministers, including federal Treasurer Joe Hockey and Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss.
Michelle Landry said water infrastructure projects were vital to further economic development and job growth in Central Queensland.
"I will fight hard to see key dam projects funded in CQ," she said. "For example, building the Connors River Dam, building a new weir at Rookwood and raising the height of the wall at Eden Bann Weir would provide new opportunities and new jobs in our region.
"They are among the dams and sites we will be looking at on this flight, and then discussing with representatives of local communities during talks in Moranbah and Emerald."
Ken O'Dowd has long been a passionate advocate for the construction of dams in Central Queensland.
"Construction of the Nathan Dam near Theodore, raising the gates on the Fairbairn Dam near Emerald, construction of the Connors River Dam, a new weir at Rookwood and raising the wall of the Eden Bann Weir are all projects I support because they are critical to the development of mining and agriculture in the region," Mr O'Dowd said.
"In 2011, I conducted an initial inspection of these sites to get these projects on the national agenda. This visit will help to further raise the profile of these projects and strengthen the case for their implementation, ahead of further discussions my colleagues and I will be having with senior Ministers in Canberra."
Senator Canavan said urgent action was needed to boost the economy in Central Queensland and infrastructure projects like dams could play an important role.
"That's why we are taking a firsthand look at potential water projects," he said. "Water is wealth and, if we can store more water, we can create more jobs. Despite some tough times in CQ right now, I have a very positive and optimistic outlook for the region's future.
"For example, there are new mines set to open. The Carmichael mine received Federal Government approval a few months ago and is going to provide 10,000 jobs alone in the Galilee Basin. It is a great opportunity. It is going to be one of the biggest areas for coal mining. It is probably the best area in the world for new coal mines. It is a great thing for Queensland to have.
"Projects like the Connors River Dam can provide essential water to the Galilee Basin, the Carmichael mine project and others, and we will be looking at that site, along with Rookwood, Eden Bann, The Gap, Fairbairn and Theresa Creek."
Ms Landry said raising the wall at Eden Bann Weir and building Rookwood Weir could generate large-scale development of horticultural crops for export to Asia. This would be part of a Fitzroy Agricultural Corridor in an area between the junction of the Dawson and McKenzie Rivers and encompassing the Fitzroy River and the Fitzroy River Barrage.
"The Connors River Dam, between Moranbah and Sarina, is 'shovel-ready'. Water for agriculture from this dam would allow towns like Moranbah and Dysart to diversify away from a reliance on coal, which is obviously going through a downturn right now.
"We need to fast-track key priority projects and infrastructure to boost employment and business growth in our region."
Senator Canavan said: "We are looking at projects as a Central Queensland LNP team, including George Christensen from Dawson. We will take the ideas that we get from our consultations with the Queensland Government and from our direct visits to communities down to Canberra in the next parliamentary sitting period with a report to Ministers like Joe Hockey and Warren Truss.
"We will urge them to give strong consideration to these projects and to respond to the current downturn in mining jobs in Central Queensland. The future is bright if we have the vision and the guts, and if we stand up to those that like to say 'No' all the time. There is a lot to do in Central Queensland."