LNP angst over updated Rookwood Weir timeline
THOSE waiting to find out what the final carrying capacity was for Rookwood Weir will be drumming their fingers on tables for a good portion of 2020, according to the latest update from the Queensland Government.
Acting Natural Resources Minister Mark Ryan said the contract to build Rookwood Weir would be awarded to the successful proponent in June 2020.
"From there, the design and capacity of the weir would be finalised," Mr Ryan said.
"Sunwater is working with two potential contractors to construct the weir and will now work with both groups over the next four months to develop a final proposal for the weir."
Following last year's project cost blow-out and a failed request for the Federal Government to provide additional funding, the Queensland Government was forced to go back to the drawing board to redesign a scaled-down version of Rookwood Weir.
"We are focused on maximising the yield for water security and jobs and we will not allow the obstacles being put in place by the Morrison Government to get in the way of this critical, job-creating project," Mr Ryan said
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry welcomed the latest update but noted that construction was originally intended to finish this year.
"The Queensland Government has done nothing with Rookwood Weir since 2006, when then-Premier Peter Beattie named it as a priority project. Only after we highlighted their drastic reduction in water capacity and water allocation for irrigators after a rally in Rockhampton were they spurred into action," Ms Landry said.
"The Queensland Government still haven't decided what the final water capacity is going to be for Rookwood Weir nor the final water allocation for irrigators.
"With the devastating drought and this tragic bushfire season, now is not the time for the Queensland Government to play political games over water infrastructure."
Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the latest Rookwood update was "a pretty poor attempt by the State Government to deflect attention away from its lack of support for Central Queensland".
"Work on the dam hasn't begun yet. Contractors haven't been chosen either," Senator Canavan said.
"State Labor is downsizing the original Rookwood Weir plans while its spending money on indulgences like Brisbane's Cross River Rail project.
"The decision is a slap in the face to farmers and communities suffering through drought in our region, with thousands of jobs potentially lost."
Paying for the Rookwood Weir Project
Mr Ryan said the Queensland Government was the only level of government that had handed over money to progressing the project.
"It's our $149 million that is funding the work underway now to deliver a $352 million weir that will provide thousands of megalitres of water for farmers and future water security in Livingstone Shire and Gladstone," he said.
"The Morrison Government like to claim they have put money on the table for Rookwood Weir, but we have not seen a brass razoo from them."
Senator Canavan said Commonwealth had held up to its side of the deal putting up half the weir's cost, $176 million of the $352 million total, and the Commonwealth's money was on the table for the project "ready to go".
Ms Landry said Federal Government's contributions to the project were given on a delivery milestone basis, as with nearly every joint project between the State and Federal Government.
"If the State Government delivers on a certain milestone during the project, a pre-determined and pre-agreed upon contribution is given from the Federal Government," she said.
"The Queensland Government knows this and they trumpet this same tired argument time and time again."