O’Rourke backs Rookwood Weir
The Rookwood Weir project is too important to the people, and the businesses, of Central Queensland to be the focus of self-indulgence and pointless bickering.
I have said continually that this project should be a classic example of governments - State and Federal - working together.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case.
While the Palaszczuk Government is getting on with the job, the Federal Government procrastinates.
The Queensland Government is determined that Rookwood Weir will be built – on time and on budget.
Despite increasing costs, outlined by Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham in Rockhampton on August 2, that budget remains at $352 million.
The redesign, including removing the gates, has been forced by the Prime Minister’s refusal to contribute any further money to the project, even after being personally approached by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Despite this, the Queensland Government has continued moving on with the project. Consultation took place, a dedicated portal to gauge interest from local business to provide goods and services was launched, the first on-the-ground contract for the $7.5 million Thirsty Creek Road project was awarded to Rockhampton Regional Council, ensuring local jobs, and Expressions of Interest for building the dam structure will be called on October 2.
Already more than 80 local businesses have lodged submissions to provide goods or services.
While the redesign of the ungated weir continues, work, other than specifically relating to the structure of the weir, is taking place.
All this has been done with Queensland Government money. Our $176m up front. There is still no sign of the 50 per cent share promised by the Federal Government.
One can only wonder, especially given the Federal Member for Capricornia’s comments: Is she hoping for more money – money the PM already has said ‘No’ to, or are they going to walk away?
The Queensland Government will not walk away.
We will build a weir that will make available an additional source of water for Rockhampton and Gladstone and provide opportunities for increased agricultural and industrial development in Central Queensland.
The weir will provide 34,000 megalitres of urban and industrial water for customers in Gladstone and the Capricorn Coast. The remainder, the amount being subject to the final design, will be dedicated to agricultural customers.
Along with the Keppel MP Brittany Lauga, we have continued to promote this project because we know this is what the people of this region want.
They want the hundreds of jobs this project will create, the business benefits it will afford and the security and reliability that will come to the region by having this extra water supply.
Rookwood Weir will benefit everyone.
The Palaszczuk Government knows how important it is for regional Queensland to prosper.
It is why the 2019-20 Budget was, unashamedly, focused on the regions.
The Government appreciates the opportunities Rookwood Weir opens up for Central Queensland, not only during construction, but after it is completed. That is why it must and will be built.