Pressure to show cards on Rookwood weir
IMPATIENT for news on the long awaited construction of the Rookwood Weir, Rockhampton's LNP politicians are ratcheting up the pressure on the Queensland Government to provide clarity to the community.
In an email updating those who signed the petition to build the 'real Rookwood Weir' Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said things were moving very slowly.
"Despite announcing a call for tenders and producing a project timeline, Sunwater and the State Labor Government have refused to release the details of the construction of the Weir," Ms Landry said.
Following last year's project cost blowout and a failed request for the Federal Government to provide additional funding, the Queensland Government was forced to go back to the drawing board to redesign a scaled-down version of Rookwood Weir - a final design and water capacity which is still yet to be released publicly.
Fearing that up 22,000ML in water capacity could be stripped from the weir in the redesign, diminishing water security and agricultural production, Ms Landry and Rockhampton-based Senator Matt Canavan organised a 'Build the real Rookwood Weir' rally at the Rockhampton riverbank last October.
More than 200 farmers, landowners, graziers and concerned Central Queensland locals attended the rally and signed a petition.
Ms Landry said repeated meetings had failed to secure any commitment from the State Government on the height of the weir, or the design and if it would include the sluice gates as originally planned.
"The Federal Government, farmers and irrigators have been left scratching their heads at the lack of information provided. There is still no final water capacity and no final allocation decided for agricultural use," she said.
"Building the roads to Rookwood Weir is all well and good but not one brick has been laid to build the weir yet. Construction was meant to be finished this year.
"Matt Canavan and I are totally committed to seeing the Real Rookwood Weir built, and we will keep fighting for it to be build on time and to full specification."
Minister for Natural Resources Anthony Lynham said in October that hydrological modelling was underway and weir could yield up to 72,000 megalitres of water - including about 38,000 megalitres of water for farmers - only 4,000ML less than previously planned.
Providing an update yesterday, Dr Lynham said the project's main construction partner was scheduled to be appointed in September.
"The construction partner and Sunwater will work together on final design, which, as I have said previously, will determine the exact capacity of the weir and the mix of high priority water for industry and medium priority water for agricultural development," Dr Lynham said.
"The weir is scheduled to be commissioned in 2023 and I can assure the people of CQ that it will deliver more water for economic development, increased water security for Rockhampton, Livingstone, and Gladstone, and an estimated 100 construction jobs."
Despite being paid for solely by the Queensland Government, he said work was steaming ahead on the Rookwood Weir project,
"At Thirsty Creek, 60km outside Rockhampton, the 25-person Rockhampton Regional Council crew has upgraded existing culverts and drainage and is now part-way through widening the road," he said.
"This will allow access for the heavy vehicles that will be needed to start on-site works from November.
"Civil Mining and Construction will have workers on site in the next four weeks upgrading the Capricorn Hwy intersection at Gogango. The welcome rain has slowed the start, but work should still be completed by June and it will not impact the project overall."
A $14 million tender to build a new Riverslea Bridge is scheduled to be awarded in April, with work to start by May.