LNP planning rally to fight for ‘real’ Rookwood Weir

AIMING to harness the same community outrage which helped force the Queensland Government to approve Adani's Carmichael Mine, the LNP have planned another Rockhampton rally to fight for "the real" Rookwood Weir.

Furious about the cost blowout to build Rookwood Weir, the Queensland Government's decision to scale back the weir's storage capacity, and a lack of shovels in the ground, Ms Landry regarded protest action as the best strategy to bring attention to perceived mishandling of the project.

Speaking at the Fitzroy Riverbank, accompanied by frustrated Gogango grazier Larry Acton, Ms Landry blasted the Queensland Government for "playing games" and not getting on with the job of building the water infrastructure project.

Michelle Landry: Michelle Landry Rookwood
Michelle Landry: Michelle Landry Rookwood

This week The Morning Bulletin reported news of the next phase for the Rookwood Project which included expressions of interest opening up on October 2 for the multimillion-dollar contract to construct the $352 million weir.

While the long awaited water project was progressing, Ms Landry said the reason for the rally centred around the disagreement between the State and Federal Governments over the funding that was available and the size of the weir.

 

Ms Landry admitted these discussions between Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack and Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham were well above hers and Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke's "pay grade" but expressed hope that they would find a way to restore and progress the original weir plan with a 76,000ML water capacity.

She said there was no record of the State approaching the Federal Government for additional funding, contradicting Dr Lynham's assertion that Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had been refused when she asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

WEIR SITE: When Rookwood Weir was built several hundred metres upstream, this area was expected to be under water.
WEIR SITE: When Rookwood Weir was built several hundred metres upstream, this area was expected to be under water.

According to Ms Landry, if the Queensland Government was to produce a full itemised list of costings, highlighting what was the cause of the increasing costs, her government would be better placed to consider increasing their funding contribution towards the project.

Ms Landry said the Queensland Government has a great deal to answer for after mishandling the planning of Rookwood Weir and spending $250m on public service handouts while Central Queensland missed out on vital infrastructure.

MAP: Project overview for construction of Rookwood Weir.
MAP: Project overview for construction of Rookwood Weir.

"While Jackie Trad and Annastacia Palaszczuk have splashed out big cash bonuses for George Street bureaucrats, farmers in Central Queensland are begging for water," Ms Landry said.

"We've had a gutful of how Labor have handled Rookwood Weir for far too long - now they are drawing up plans to downsize Rookwood into a mini-weir.

"We are calling on the Queensland Government to get serious about water, to start giving a damn about our farmers and to build the real Rookwood Weir."

Larry Acton: Larry Acton
Larry Acton: Larry Acton

Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan said the Queensland Government couldn't manage money and wasn't focused on Central Queensland.

"If you care about our farmers, about Rookwood Weir and about CQ's water security, come to the rally and tell the Trad-Palaszczuk Government that enough is enough."

Dr Lynham dismissed the LNP politician's anger as "another political stunt".

"Her self-promoting and grandstanding is doing nothing to ensure that Rookwood Weir is being built," Dr Lynham said.

"Only the Palaszczuk Government is actively working to supply further security and reliability of water for Central Queensland.

"Being pedantic does not alter the fact that this Government asked the Commonwealth for more money to cover increasing costs and they refused.

"The Member for Capricornia needs to stop complaining about a project that is going ahead and in which the Commonwealth is supposed to be a 50/50 partner but in reality is 100 per cent behind the eight ball on funding.''