Proposed dam site on Fitzroy River. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Proposed dam site on Fitzroy River. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

Landry invites Minister to CQ ahead of dams white paper

A DELEGATION of 30 local business leaders and people with business interests in Central Queensland joined with Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry in Cairns on Thursday where the Prime Minister laid out the way forward in the northern Australia white paper.

"There are so many international contacts interested in investing in Australia," Ms Landry said.

"I want to try to move forward to see if we can get some of the CQ projects moving.

"I think there will be some really positive stuff come out with the Dams White Paper later this year."

While in Cairns, Ms Landry spoke with Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb, who she has invited to Rockhampton to discuss major projects with targeted investors.

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"We're still working on a time frame, but I'm hoping within the next few months," she said.

Ms Landry has been pushing the region heavily in Canberra but said there were 150 federal ministers in parliament who all wanted something for their electorates.

"You really need to make yourself heard," she said yesterday.

"That's why we need the best story to tell and a united community to tell it."

If the Federal Government is looking for private investment to develop northern Australia, that's exactly how businessman Dominic Doblo hopes to finance his vision to dam the Fitzroy River at The Gap.

Mr Doblo has called on the Federal Government to fund an updated study into the proposed dam which he says would bring water security, flood mitigation, quality of water, agriculture and tourism to the region.

However Ms Landry said it would be up to the State Government to express interest in The Gap proposal, to make it a priority project and then apply for funds through the northern Australia white paper.

The northern Australia white paper, released on Thursday, allocated $200million to studies into water infrastructure, which Mr Doblo says is a kick in the teeth for Eden Bann and Rookwood weirs, which are virtually shovel-ready.

But out of the negative he sees a big plus; an opportunity to update the feasibility study into The Gap dam proposal.

The study was undertaken by the Irrigation and Water Supply Commission (Qld) in 1976-77 and Mr Doblo wants to see the study upgraded to modern standards.

"The course of the river hasn't changed… we need to do this quickly so we can take it to international investors," he said.

"Canadian and USA pension funds are looking to lend money for infrastructure and agriculture."

Mr Doblo attended the Australian Infrastructure Summit in Sydney last week where he says it was reiterated that governments were not going to spend money and that international pension funds presented funding opportunities.

"Let's do the feasibility, the financial analysis and let's go," Mr Doblo said.

"This dam would mean thousands of jobs in construction and thousands of jobs in agriculture and tourism once it's built.

"No one is doing anything about water infrastructure… no one is talking about dams because everyone is too scared of the greenies, but if all these places are going to grow, we need new water security.

"Rookwood will primarily serve Gladstone and Eden Bann is primarily for Stanwell… what of the future of this area?"

Mr Doblo said there were established businesses, present at the Australian Infrastructure Summit, to raise overseas capital.

"We need to move while overseas investors are running hot looking at infrastructure, agriculture and Australia," he said.

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