Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the official opening of the CQ Univeristy Allied Health building in Rockhampton. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the official opening of the CQ Univeristy Allied Health building in Rockhampton. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

OPINION: Weir projects could become Federal election issue

I FEEL the odds are moving in favour of the Rookwood and Eden Bann weir projects as an early election looms.

There is every likelihood the proposed water storages on the Fitzroy River will develop into an election funding issue in Capricornia if the government goes to the polls.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was talking up federal investment in jobs and growth during his visit to Central Queensland yesterday and the government will be looking for a headline act to win over voters.

Look no further than the Lower Fitzroy Agricultural Project which researchers say will bring 2100 jobs after construction.

That's the type of industry-building initiative that people want to see.

"Believe me, right here, in Central Queensland, in Northern Australia, on the Tropic of Capricorn you are living in the most exciting part of Australia because you're right here in a position poised for extraordinary growth," Mr Turnbull said.

"We are living in the most exciting times; we have never seen change so rapid or as destructive as we have in the last generation."

In 2013 it was the Yeppen Flood Plain bridge which picked up funding support from Labor and the Coalition and this time it appears the $450million two-weir project is looming as a do-able development.

But while Yeppen South provided hundreds of construction jobs - and flood-proofed Rockhampton - there are no flow-on jobs.

The Prime Minister did issue a few cautionary words about the need to prove the project's viability and we know the EIS process is still underway.

But if this project doesn't pass muster, where will the spike in jobs come from?

CQUniversity is one of the few bright spots, but what about tourism?

We have the potential, but how can governments with cash to invest work smarter with private enterprise and risk takers to make things happen?



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