Rookwood showdown with rival rallies planned
ROCKHAMPTON'S Riverbank will be the scene of a potentially epic showdown between two competing rallies on opposite sides of the Rookwood Weir debate.
State Labor plans to host a counter-rally at the same place and time as Capricornia MP Michelle Landry's riverbank 'Fight for the Real Rookwood Weir Rally' on Thursday.
Angry with the Queensland Government's decision to scale down the size of Rookwood Weir from the original 76,000ML to 54,000ML to meet the $352 million budget, Ms Landry called for people to dress in green to attend her protest rally demanding the "real" Rookwood be built.
With the price tag allegedly blown out to $566 million by the cost of concrete, and the Federal Government said to be unwilling to contribute any more money, the Queensland Government maintained that a scaled down version was the only way the project would proceed.
In an email circulated to branch members, Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke and Keppel MP Brittany Lauga called on supporters to don plain red shirts to attend the counter-protest aimed at reducing media exposure to the LNP's "continuous barrage of untruths" around the construction Rookwood Weir.
Labor's slogan for the rally will be, "Where's the money, Michelle?"
Questioned about the counter rally, Ms Landry expressed disappointment about Labor continuing to "play games with farmers' livelihoods" by trying to drown out their voices with this "stunt" to ensure their political survival.
Ms Landry said their rally was to ensure farmers, graziers and landholders had the water security they needed and to protect Queensland's agricultural sector through one of the worst droughts in living memory.
She was unable to find any correspondance from the State Government about the price blowout or structural design changes with Rookwood Weir.
"We want a full list of costings to determine how there could possibly be $200 million cost blowout in only 12 months," Ms Landry said.
Minister for Natural Resources Anthony Lynham said the Prime Minister told the Premier there was no further funding for Rookwood, so the Queensland Government was getting on with building a $352 million weir.
"As at the end of July, $66 million of State funds had been provided to Sunwater to progress the project," Dr Lynham said.
"Sunwater has used these funds to progress work including securing necessary approvals, accessing land, road upgrades, setting up the gateway for local businesses to bid once contracts become available, and developing a marketing plan for the sale of water allocations.
Sunwater also held an industry briefing for interested contractors in Brisbane today (Monday 30 September), and will invite expressions of interest for the main weir package on Wednesday.
"The Commonwealth has yet to complete an agreement with the state for its share of the costs, and the Palaszczuk Government continues to fund the project.
"I am becoming increasingly concerned that the LNP Federal Government is going to back out on Rookwood altogether and breach its promise to the people of central Queensland."
The rival rallies start on Thursday morning at 9am at the Rockhampton Riverbank Precinct.