Rookwood Weir's benefit to Gladstone questioned

GLADSTONE'S benefit of Rookwood Weir has been questioned after it was confirmed the project would cost $92 million more than expected.

A State Government-funded business case released this week showed the project, which would provide 42000M/L of water for agriculture, would cost $352 million.

The Federal Government has committed $130 million to the project which is touted to create hundreds of jobs.

But Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said the promotion of Rookwood Weir as a job creating and water sustainability from National party members was an attempt to gain political points.

He said its link and benefits to Gladstone was weak at best.

"They keep including Gladstone into this scenario, but there is not one mention of the pipeline to bring the water from Rookwood Weir to Gladstone and how much that will cost," Mr Butcher said.

He said if the Federal Government did not fund the extra $220 million needed, Queenslanders could be left with the bill.

Mr Butcher said he supported the project but it did not need to happen "today".

Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said federal and state governments needed to sit down and "get the works under way".

A passionate agriculture advocate, Mr O'Dowd said the scrap over Rookwood was a disgrace.

"Our Federal Government has previously committed to funding this project 50:50. Taking a similar, considered approach in the light of the release of the business case would not be an unreasonable one," Mr O'Dowd said.

"Farmers along the several rivers that make up the mighty Fitzroy River catchment have been given a gift for all Central Queenslanders to share. Central Queenslanders have waited long enough, let's put the politicking aside and get everyone to the table to find the viable solution for how this gift of water can be shared, Mr O'Dowd said.

When he released the business case, Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the project was not viable if the Federal Government was unwilling to add more funding to its $130 million commitment.

He said he has written to Agriculture and Water Resources Minister David Littleproud, and called upon CQ's federal members to speak with their federal counterpart to reconsider its financial commitment.

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