First instalment in bank for Lakeland irrigation

The first instalment is heading to the bank for a $10 million investigation into a major Far North Queensland irrigation project.

Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said Regional Development Australia Far North would this week receive the first payment from a National Water Infrastructure Development Fund (NWIDF) grant to look into the viability of irrigating of up to 8000 hectares in cropping and grazing land near Cooktown.

“The proposed Lakeland project could bring dollars to the Far North by opening up land for more farming crops such as bananas, watermelons, other horticulture and cattle,” he said.

“This NWIDF funding allows Regional Development Australia Far North to continue its investigation into this opportunity.

Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said the Palaszczuk Government understood the contribution that water supply could make to regional communities in the Cape and the State’s economy.

“The Palaszczuk Government’s economic plan for Queensland, Unite and Recover, is focussed on building our traditional strengths, including agriculture, to create local jobs.

“We’re starting to deliver on that plan, with a $50 billion infrastructure guarantee to support communities and jobs across Queensland.

“Here in the Far North, that includes a $25 million support package a bio-refinery to help underpin the long-term future of Mossman sugar mill.

“More water from this irrigation project would mean more agricultural production and more jobs for the far north.

“A robust assessment of the project will give everyone on the Cape a clear understanding of the project’s viability.”

Since 2017 the Palaszczuk Government had committed $848 million in water infrastructure for Queensland, creating more than 1600 regional jobs.

This includes:

  • $176 million for the creation of Rookwood Weir
  • $215 million for the Haughton Pipeline Duplication Project (Stage 1) in Townsville, and sealing a $24 million deal for the next stage of assessment for the proposed Hells Gates Dam
  • $28 million to modernise an existing open channel irrigation scheme on the Tablelands
  • $13.6 million to kick-start the new Emu Swamp Dam.

RDA Far North is scheduled to complete the business case and environmental investigations by late 2022.

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