ROOKWOOD: How much will water cost farmers?
The Environmental Impact Statement approval of the Lower Fitzroy River Infrastructure Project has released a flood of opinion but still raises questions with some stakeholders.
The Bulletin spoke with a number of people yesterday including AgForce representative Sharon Howard, Growing Central Queensland Project Officer Anne Stunzner, Canoona farmer Gerard Mylrea and Melanie Findlay of Rees R and Sydney Jones lawyers.
Both Mrs Howard and Mrs Stunzner were positive about what came from the Coordinator-General with one saying it meant opening up access to more agriculture water and the other saying there were no surprises in the recommendations from the Coordinator-General.
"The cost of the water and the cost of the power to utilise the water... we still haven't had any indicators,” Mrs Howard said.
She said AgForce would like to see Rookwood go ahead and benefit agriculture - in a financially feasible way.
"We want to make sure that water is accessible in an affordable way.”
The EIS assessed multiple options along the Fitzroy River including the raising of the Eden Bann and Rookwood weirs.
"The Steering Committee has considered Building Queensland's assessment and confirmed further detailed analysis will now concentrate on Rookwood Weir,” Agriculture minister Bill Byrne said.
Canoona farmer Gerard Mylrea welcomed the news the future analysis would focus on Rookwood rather than Eden Bann.
Eden Bann Weir is adjacent to Mr Mylrea's property but the raising of the weir would have very little impact on his property nor does he need to access water from the river.
However, his neighbours which include John Aitkinson (pictured) would be impacted either by their properties being flooded or being cut off when the river rose to the proposed new height of the weir.
Mr Mylrea said there was not one person he knew that would benefit agriculturally from the raising of Eden Bann or Rookwood.
He believes it would be better to build infrastructure further up the river to benefit the 40,000 hectares of irrigation land near where the Isaac River meets the McKenzie River.
Meanwhile, Mrs Findlay said the EIS does not explain much to the landowners who might be impacted by inundation.
She said many landholders she knew - either clients or others she had met at meetings - question how much it will cost them to access the water and pump it.
Mrs Stunzner said expressions of interest for the agriculture water will open in January.