Eden Bann, Rookwood weirs could share in $5 billion funding
WHEN $5 billion worth of funding becomes available for infrastructure, Minister Josh Frydenberg is looking forward to seeing proposals for the development of Eden Bann and Rookwood weirs put forward.
The federal Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia was in Rockhampton yesterday where he discussed the White Paper on Developing Northern Australia, and what role he sees Rockhampton playing in that.
"What I'm thinking about is not 'what does Rockhampton look like in five years time', I'm thinking 'what does Rockhampton look like in 10 years, 15 years' time'," he said yesterday.
The centrepiece of the White Paper is $5 billion worth of infrastructure concessional loans, and Mr Frydenberg said the weir plans were the type of project they were looking to finance with that.
Tourism, mining, water infrastructure, agriculture and the free trade agreements were the other big ticket areas he identified for Rockhampton.
"We need to be very creative and innovative and we need to help finance significant pieces of infrastructure," he said.
"This is about funding infrastructure which is really important but wouldn't go ahead if the government didn't partner… it's not seeking to crowd out the private sector.
"We've been talking about how to develop northern Australia, because you've got 5% of the population in the area above the Tropic of Capricorn… but 40% of the land mass."
Mr Frydenberg, alongside Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, said they would soon release the funding criteria for comment, and hoped money would start being distributed by next July.
Headline areas include infrastructure projects which will bring economic development - things like water, transport, energy, agriculture and airports.
He said it would be interesting to see the proposals for Eden Bann and Rookwood, which he believes would be a job creator.
"That has the potential to open up thousands of hectares worth of agricultural land as well as providing water for the people of Rockhampton, and the feasibility work has already been undertaken.
"The other thing about Eden Bann and Rookwood is they're quite proximate to rain, to road, to airport infrastructure."
He also they would welcome any proposal, including The Gap dam, but understood that project was not shovel-ready.
"I'm not ruling projects in or out, I'm just saying there are headline areas that we want to see investment in. Put the proposals forward and they'll be considered on their merits," Mr Frydenberg said.
"As Michelle (Landry) has been a very strong advocate, and it's got a lot of community support, it will be interesting to see what the Rookwood and Eden Bann proposals look like."