‘Get the thing moving’: Landry’s Rookwood frustration
A CLEARLY frustrated member for Capricornia Michelle Landry has hit out at the Queensland Government over its handling of the Rookwood Weir project, telling them to “get the dozers out there and get the thing moving”.
Blindsided by yesterday’s exclusive story in The Morning Bulletin where Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham revealed the water capacity of the redesigned weir project, Ms Landry criticised the Queensland Government for its poor timing and playing politics with the issue.
Since being elected in 2013, Ms Landry has consistently championed the project, growing increasingly annoyed with every delay, cost blowout and disagreement with the State Government.
When the project’s cost blew out last year and the Federal Government made it clear additional money wouldn’t be forthcoming, Sunwater was forced to re-scope and redesign the weir as an ungated structure to minimise the cost while optimising the yield to keep it within the $352 million approved budget.
For two years negotiations have continued between the two levels of government to develop a joint partnership agreement for running the weir but Ms Landry said it was held up by the Queensland Government needing to “finalise the design of the weir and finalise the final water allocation for Central Queensland farmers before financial agreements can be formally signed”.
On Friday, Dr Lynham revealed the redesigned weir would yield 50,000ML high priority or 76,000ML medium priority water – something that didn’t sit well with Ms Landry.
“They are saying it’s going to be 76,000ML but it’s not high priority water which is guaranteed every year,” Ms Landry said.
“If it’s medium priority water, it means it’s not going to happen every year and that’s been a bit of a sticking point.”
She said her primary concern around the construction of Rookwood Weir was the reliability of the water available for agricultural use and ensuring there was enough for farmers and primary producers to use for their irrigation needs.
“We have been seeking further advice on how medium priority water will affect the agricultural sector compared to having high priority water allocated,” she said.
“While the advice so far has indicated medium priority water to be the most typical water products used by the agricultural sector and the hydrologic modelling showing the reliability of medium priority water for Rookwood Weir could be expected to be comparable with the existing nearby schemes in the Fitzroy River Basin.
“I’m going to have a discussion with the farmers along the Fitzroy River to see if that’s going to be good enough for them because that means that the water would not be available to them every year.”
Ms Landry said it was vital that an agreement was finalised as soon as possible so Rookwood Weir could be built be for the benefit of farmers and primary producers in Central Queensland.