The State Government will stick to its guns and deliver Rookwood Weir despite a Morrison Government refusal to chip in for rising construction costs.
Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham was in Rockhampton today to double-down on the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to the project, despite Canberra’s lack of support.
“We will not allow the obstacles being put in place by the Morrison Government to get in the way of this critical, job-creating project,” he said.
“The Turnbull/Morrison Government has attempted to thwart and frustrate this project from day one.”
Dr Lynham said ongoing planning work over the past few months had shown concrete costs had increased by half compared to initial concept design in the detailed business case.
“We have advised the Morrison Government of the need to come to the table and help meet these costs but they have decided to turn their back on Central Queensland and refuse these reasonable request.
“What’s more, they have also failed to provide their as-yet-unpaid $176 million.
“These soaring concrete prices mean Sunwater has had to seek fresh design input so we can get on with delivering this important piece of infrastructure and the jobs that will flow with it,” Dr Lynham said.
“It’s the Palaszczuk Government’s $149 million that is keeping work going now and our commitment remains rock-solid.
“We will deliver Central Queensland the water infrastructure and jobs it needs, to the current timetable and current budget of $352 million.”
Sunwater will now seek expressions of interest for a revised design that will still deliver jobs and thousands of megalitres of water for CQ water security and high value agricultural production along the Fitzroy River.
Dr Lynham said design decisions had already been made to eliminate the gates.
“The weir becomes easier to build and maintain, without compromising its value, minus gates, so that’s been a simple call to make,” he said.
Sunwater will call EOIs for design next month, select a major contractor by mid-next year.
In the meantime, Rockhampton Regional Council will start work on the $6.5 million Thirsty Creek Road upgrade, with bridge construction next year.
The Rookwood Weir will dam be located in the lower Fitzroy River 66 km south-west of Rockhampton. It will include infrastructure to allow safe passage for fish and turtles
The project will require road upgrading for access for earth-moving machinery at Thirsty Creek and Gogango and new bridge construction upstream of the weir.
It will provide 100 construction jobs, water security supply to Livingstone Shire, Rockhampton and Gladstone and help grow and diversify the region’s economy through irrigated agriculture.