Friday, 4 September 2020

It’s time for Queensland Labor to finally commit to the construction of the Big Rocks Weir after today’s public release of the business case showed how important the project was.

The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government directed the North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority to immediately release the business case and urged Queensland Labor to finally get on board.

Townsville-based Senator for Queensland Susan McDonald said the release of the business case allowed the people of North Queensland to see first-hand just how important the Big Rocks Weir was to future prosperity.

“The Big Rocks Weir is a cornerstone piece of water infrastructure and its construction is critical to the development of horticulture, fodder and food manufacturing in North Queensland,” Senator McDonald said.

“That’s real action – contrasted with Queensland Labor’s formation of yet another committee, to have yet another discussion about a Bradfield Scheme.

“The message to Queensland Labor from our community is clear – talk is cheap, money buys water infrastructure.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the business case clearly demonstrated the construction of the Big Rocks Weir will deliver strong benefits to the Charters Towers region and to Queensland as a whole.

“Getting on with the job of delivering this vital project means more than 200 jobs created in construction and ongoing agriculture,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“It means up to 5,000 hectares of high value agriculture supported, including avocados, macadamias and citrus, through supplying a minimum of 10,000 megalitres of water.

“We need Queensland to come to the table so we can deliver greater water security for the Charters Towers region.”

Federal Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson said whilst the Federal Government’s $30 million commitment to build Big Rocks Weir has been in place since 2018, Queensland Labor were missing in action.

“The only thing stopping Big Rocks Weir is Queensland Labor’s refusal to stump up its $30 million, allocate a water license and expedite construction approvals so that early work can begin before the wet season this year,” Mr Thompson said.

“Even the business case was funded in its entirety by the Australian Government.

“If the Queensland Government fully commits today, there is there is a strong likelihood of Big Rocks Weir being completed by the end of 2021.

“This would enable Big Rocks Weir to be filled in the next wet season, delivering real benefit to communities immediately after.”

The Australian Government funding for the Big Rocks Weir is provided through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

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