Landry consults with CQ farmers on Rookwood Weir water
CAPRICORNIA MP Michelle Landry has received negative feedback from farmers and primary producers after the Queensland Government put its cards on the table to clarify Rookwood Weir's final capacity and water allocations.
Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham revealed last Friday the redesigned weir would yield 50,000ML high priority or 76,000ML medium priority water, with an expected urban allocation of 19,000ML of high, with 15,000ML for the Gladstone Area Water Board and 4000ML for the Livingstone Shire Council.
At the time, Ms Landry expressed concerns about the reliability of the water available for agricultural use, wanting to ensure there was enough for farmers and primary producers to use for their irrigation needs.
In the week since, she has rung around consulting with these key stakeholders who could tap into the irrigation water from the Fitzroy River above the proposed site of Rookwood Weir, collating their feedback to relay back to the Queensland Government.
Ms Landry said it was vital farmers and primary producers had their say on what level of priority water they needed for their farms and businesses to grow and thrive.
"The feedback I'm getting from farmers is extremely valuable and I wish to thank them for taking the time to speak to me, especially now during the coronavirus pandemic," Ms Landry said.
"Central Queensland farmers have been living on the land for generations. They have their heads screwed on and they know what they need."
According to Ms Landry, there were a number of key points of concern raised by the farmers and primary producers.
They complained about a "lack of general information on how the project is progressing, creating uncertainty around farmers' decisions to employ more staff and invest in equipment and infrastructure".
There were concerns raised about a "lack of consultation on behalf of the Queensland Government regarding final water allocations for farmers".
The farmers and primary producers said they were seeing "little to no progress made on land acquisitions and purchases".
On the positive side, they expressed "general support for the construction of the Riverslea Bridge".
When it came to deciding between medium priority and high priority water, Ms Landry said the devil would be in the detail.
"While the hydrologic modelling I've received indicates that medium priority water is the most typical water used by the agricultural sector across Queensland and that high priority water is not typically used for irrigation, there are some instances of high priority water being used for agricultural purposes," she said.
Ms Landry said if the water allocation was sufficient for farmers at the moment, it was critical to plan for the future needs of Central Queensland.
'The Queensland Government can't short change future generations of farmers and primary producers when it comes to the water priority of Rookwood Weir," she said.
"The last thing I want are bureaucrats based in Brisbane making the decisions when farmers haven't even been consulted."
Minister for Natural Resources Anthony Lynham responded saying his government was delivering Rookwood, and to find proof, you only had to look at the workers in hi-vis at Thirsty Creek Road and Gogango.
"A 25-person Rockhampton Regional Council crew has completed almost half of the upgrade to Thirsty Creek with 11,000 metres of the 16,500-metre road alignment either completed or under construction," Dr Lynham said.
"The upgrade to the Capricorn Highway Intersection at Gogango is now 21 per cent complete. "The $2.1 million project employs 15 people is due to be finished in mid-2020."
According to the minster, a contractor to build the Riverslea Bridge would be announced in late April with work to start in June, employing 15 workers.
He said there was other extensive work continues behind the scenes.
"Over the past six months, Sunwater has engaged with about 3400 people regarding the Rookwood Weir project by phone, email, letter and at information sessions and industry briefings. Even with public gatherings now restricted by the pandemic, Sunwater continues to keep CQ informed, with more than 2000 stakeholders set to receive emails and letters this week updating them on the project," he said.
"Sunwater has been working with 30 landholders since last year about access and acquisition. "I am advised that they will all receive documentation and compensation offers by the end of this month."
As he outlined in his letter to the Deputy Prime Minister last week, Dr Lynham said he was preparing to commence a process to amend the local water plan to settle the volumes and mix of water allocations that would be available to Rookwood users.
"This legislated process involves extensive consultation with stakeholders on the ground, continuing the extensive community engagement already undertaken by the Queensland Government," he said.
"It will involve more than a few telephone calls made by the Member for Capricornia, who seems determined to undermine the project.
"Local business is positive about Rookwood: nearly 220 local businesses have registered online to provide goods and services."
Dr Lynahm said local MPs, Member for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke and Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga, were positive about the Rookwood project
"CQ would be better off if the Member for Capricornia would be positive about this region-changing project and pursue a final partnership agreement with her colleague the Deputy Prime Minister," he said.