The State Opposition has been challenged to outline how they will pay for their promises in Far North Queensland.
Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham posed the challenge today over water infrastructure.
“Our Government is supporting the expansion of irrigated agriculture in the Far North, now and into the future
“Sunwater is progressing a $28 million project to modernise the existing open channel irrigation scheme on the Tablelands.
“It’s forecast to save more than 8000 megalitres of water alone. That’s more water that farmers can actually afford for more crops.
“The LNP – including the current Opposition Leader – was preparing to abandon dam building in Queensland to the private sector.
“When the Leader of the Opposition was Campbell Newman’s assistant minister, she was proud of a budget that resulted in mass public service sackings.
“In the Cairns and Hinterland area alone, 306 health staff lost their jobs.
“The LNP also have no way to pay for their promises other than cutting, sacking and selling.
“How many will the LNP need to sack to pay for their $8 billion in funded promises?
“Only the Leader of the Opposition can answer that question and she should do so today.”
Dr Lynham said the Co-ordinator General and his Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy were working on the best way to preserve the proposed Nullinga Dam site.
“We recognise that there might be strategic benefits for FNQ in preserving the site while we and pursue alternative water supply options that farmers can afford.”
The Nullinga Dam proposal is to dam the Walsh River in Far North Queensland, about 55 km south-west of Cairns and 24 kilometres south-west of Mareeba.
Building Queensland’s detailed business case was released in August and has been provided to the Australian Government.
The business case identifies that:
- Cairns Regional Council has plans in place to cover water supply for at least the next 40 years
- water would cost upward from $15,900 per megalitre but customers only wanted to, and could, pay around $2000-$3000 per megalitre.
- both the smaller and larger dam options considered “would result in poor economic returns and poor financial outcomes”