THE HON. BARNABY JOYCE MP
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER
MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND WATER RESOURCES
SENATOR THE HON. MATTHEW CANAVAN
MINISTER FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA
MR EWEN JONES MP
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR HERBERT
26 May 2016
WATER SECURITY FOR JOBS AND GROWTH IN HERBERT
The Coalition Government is getting on with the job of delivering our water infrastructure needs, today announcing funding to fast-track water infrastructure projects to enable jobs and growth in Herbert.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce made this announcement as part of a $150 million funding commitment to fast-track the feasibility assessment and construction of water infrastructure across Queensland.
“The government is expediting the planning work required to get water infrastructure projects shovel-ready,” Minister Joyce said.
“Bill Shorten came to Townsville and said he wants to have a “water inquiry”. Well, we want to actually get on and build dams.
“On the advice of an expert technical panel, we believe that enough studies have been done on the Burdekin River to move forward with the proposal to increase the height of the dam.
“That’s why we’re providing $400,000 to do the final technical work required to complete a business case and get it ready for construction. There is capital funding available in just 13 months and we want projects ready to build.
“We are also providing $1,915,000 to undertake a feasibility assessment of the proposal to upgrade and improve the capacity of the Burdekin Haughton Channel and $2.2 million to fund a feasibility study on the Hell’s Gate Dam proposal.”
Mr Jones said he was pleased to see the Commonwealth fast-tracking projects that could improve water security for Townsville and enable the creation of jobs and growth upstream.
“Hell’s Gate would provide our city with gravity fed water security. This will allow Townsville to grow, safe and sound in knowing that we are not going to have to pump water at great expense," Mr Jones said.
"Raising the wall of the Burdekin Falls Dam by two metres could see 150,000 million litres a year of additional water entitlements flow into the system.
“The additional supply could provide additional water for mining activities in the Bowen and Galilee coal
“It could also provide water for irrigation expansion, the Port of Abbot Point State Development Area, and
“The Burdekin Haughton Channel capacity upgrade proposal will investigate works such as channel desilting, siphon pipe duplications, channel widening, channel bank raising, channel lining, weed management, improving on farm efficiencies and water trading.
“The upgrade could provide access to an additional 153,000 million litres of medium priority water, which is
currently not able to be supplied due to operational constraints."
Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan said Northern Australia has huge untapped potential.
“Northern Australia has 17 million hectares of arable soil and receives 60 per cent of the nation’s rainfall — of which we use less than 2 per cent,” Minister Canavan said.
“We need to build dams to develop the north. Water is life up here. Water brings industry, jobs, growth and, most of all, people. Our plan will deliver jobs and growth for the north but it is also important for the rest of the country. When our north grows, so does the rest of Australia.
Minister Joyce said the Coalition was delivering on its $2.5 billion commitment to building the water infrastructure of the future.
“It’s the right time for our significant investment in water infrastructure. A transitioning economy and growing global demand for agrifood products mean this is a time of unprecedented opportunity for our agriculture sector,” he said.
“As the economy transitions and diversifies, agricultural exports are playing a more important role than ever in our nation’s economy and prosperity. Rural exports have already overtaken coal to become our second-largest export after iron ore.
“The Coalition is taking action by carrying out the most significant investment in infrastructure in Australian history, including through the roll-out of our $15 billion water reform agenda, so we can make the most of these opportunities.
“From water infrastructure, to transport infrastructure and digital infrastructure, the Coalition is laying the foundations to support a productive and profitable agriculture sector, and a strong national economy.”