Rookwood Weir maximum yield increased at cost of $15m
An extra $15 million will be spent to increase Rookwood Weir's maximum medium priority yield by 10,000ML, but Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said she would "still fight" for the originally-conceived high yield amount.
The state and federal governments announced today that Sunwater and the companies involved in constructing the weir decided to raise its crest height by 0.7m, bringing the medium priority yield figure to 86,000ML.
The governments will pay for the extra work with $7.5 million each, bringing the total cost of the project to $367 million.
Ms Landry said the State Government had "finally seen sense" and committed to spending more money on Rookwood Weir.
"I have been fighting tooth and nail to see Rookwood Weir restored to its original size since the Queensland Government decided to downgrade it in 2019," she said.
"It should never have been reduced in the first place.
"While this is a small change to the total water capacity, I welcome any increase in water capacity for this important water project."
She said the augmentation would benefit those who relied on water to make a living.
"This announcement is for all of the graziers, landowners and farmers who stood with me during the Real Rookwood Weir Rally in September 2019 who protested against the blatant disregard the Labor Party has for regional areas.
"At the end of the day, we have a State Government in Queensland that doesn't understand regional areas and who would rather listen to bureaucrats in Brisbane instead of hardworking local farmers.
"I will still fight for Rookwood Weir to be built at the original size."
The weir was initially planned to have a high priority yield of 76,000ML, but that number was revised down to 50,000ML last year.
A Sunwater spokesman said: "The final mix of high and medium priority water will be determined upon completion of the tender process and when urban water supply arrangements are finalised with local councils and the Gladstone Area Water Board."
In any case, Water Minister Glenn Butcher said raising the weir walls would increase the jobs involved in the project.
"Raising Rookwood Weir means that the Foleyvale bridge and its approach roads will also be upgraded to accommodate the greater level of inundation," he said.
"This upgrade will add another 15 full-time jobs on top of the 100 jobs already created for essential road and bridge upgrades, and the 200 jobs which will be created to build the weir itself.
"At least 140 of those jobs will be sourced locally - a big win for the regional economy."
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said "the success of the first round of water sales tenders resulted in a strong market response, which bodes well for future growth in the local agricultural industry".
"I'm advised Sunwater has also had a strong response to the expression of interests for a further round of tenders to be undertaken in 2022, so raising Rookwood Weir now makes good sense," she said.
Surrounding earthworks for the project have already begun, and construction of the weir itself is set for next month.
It has a completion date of 2023.