Rookwood weir won't be assessed on some 'trumped-up ideological fantasy'
A NUMBER of local politicians have provided their input and updates regarding the ongoing Rookwood Weir debate.
LNP Candidate for Rockhampton Douglas Rodgers challenged Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne to deliver on the Rookwood Weir Project and consequently jobs for CQ.
Mr Rodgers said CQ is in dire need of a fresh approach. thousands of jobs have been shed from CQ since Labor came to power, driving up unemployment, from 5.2% to 7.2% in just two-and-a-half years.
"Rookwood Weir is sitting there begging to be built, this weir will provide for a $1 billion boost to our economy, turning the lower reaches of the Fitzroy into a vibrant mosaic of money-crops,” he said.
"That means we need leadership now more than ever, we need someone to fight for real job creating investment, someone immune to this retrograde partisanship.
"This Member for Rockhampton jumps up and down for levee bank funding but sits on his hands when it comes to major economic infrastructure.”
Mr Byrne maintained he had always been consistent with regards to the Rookwood Weir project.
"The independent infrastructure body, Building Queensland is completing its business case for the project, as demanded by the Federal Government,” he said.
"Douglas Rodgers and Michelle Landry know that they are desperately trying to appear relevant without being able to add anything to the debate.
"Rash and unsubstantiated claims about the potential benefits of the dam and potential demand for water show their desperation.”
Mr Byrne said the business case was being established in a timely fashion by independent experts and was due for completion in the coming weeks.
"It will be an honest and expert appraisal of the merits of the proposal rather than some trumped-up ideological fantasy,” he said.
"Given the significant financial contribution that may be required it is prudent to await the outcome of the business case before committing funds.
"To dismiss the process is simply irresponsible.”
He quoted Michelle Landry's Government's own policy document stating, "we will also fund half the cost of Rookwood Weir - up to $130 million - if the business case meets all the necessary requirements.”
Ms Landry took umbrage at Mr Byrne's comments regarding water being an idealogical debate.
"Water is not an ideology, it's a basic requirement to grow things,” she said.
"I would like him to stand in front of farmers and tell them that water infrastructure is a philosophical debate.”
She said under the leadership of the Coalition Government, Australian agriculture has emerged as the fastest growing sector and the largest contributor to national GDP growth in 2016-17, cementing its position as one of the economic powerhouses driving the nation.
"While Bill Byrne drags the chain on delivering this once in a generation project, Central Queensland is missing out on this growth,” Ms Landry said.
"It took them 12 months to even get the business case started - in that same time we've seen a number of business cases in the South East fast-tracked.
"Either he doesn't care about standing up for job security in Central Queensland, or he has become irrelevant to the South East leadership.”