What holds for Queensland’s Rookwood Weir?
Queensland ministers are claiming that the Rookwood Weir project will not be viable unless the Federal Government adds more funding to its $130 million dollar commitment, following the public release of a business case outlining its economic feasibility.
At a recent press conference in Rockhampton, Minister for Natural Resources Dr Anthony Lynham, Keppel Minister Brittany Lauga and Rockhampton Minister Barry O'Rourke all said without further funding, the benefits of the project would be lost to central Queenslanders, as reported by the Morning Bulletin.
"I'd encourage everyone in Central Queensland to get online and have a look at this business case. This weir has great benefit for Rockhampton, Gladstone and Livingstone Shire," Lynham said.
"Building Queensland has assessed all the facts in its detailed business case and says that the project is not commercial with the Commonwealth offer of $130 million. To be commercially viable, it will require substantially increased funding from the Federal Government.
"Without a fair contribution from Canberra, the price of the water will be too high for farmers and other potential users."
Lynham said the Rookwood Weir would provide 42,000ML for agriculture in the region, but with the present costings, farmers would not be able to afford the water.
According to Lauga, the aim now is for industry and governments to work together to find a solution to the problem, but more government funding is needed.
"We need to work together and we don't need negotiations to be run through the media. The business case made it clear the project would create jobs and would be wonderful for the agricultural sector,” she said.
"The Federal Government is going to need to include a lot more funding in this project for local farmers to be able to afford this water."
Lauga and O'Rourke encouraged Queensland Senator Matt Canavan to work with them to progress the issue.
"This is an issue that's best resolved together for the benefit of all of our constituents and the region and not to get into the public debate," O'Rourke said.
In response, Canavan said the government would be happy to welcome an application for water infrastructure funding from the Queensland Government.
"We want to get the price down to meet the market, [and] they think through this business case that will require more money from us to do that," Canavan said.
"We've got more than $7 billion to spend on water infrastructure so of course we'll consider any application from the Queensland Government. Let's work it out, let's just do it."