No lake funding
THE Coalstoun Lake Development Group’s feasibility study funding has been overlooked in favour of sugar cane trials in Gayndah by Isis Sugar.
Flynn MP Ken O’Dowd announced Isis secured a $1.23 million grant to investigate access to water storage infrastructure in Gayndah last month.
This opened up the possibility of 6800 hectares of sugar cane being planted.
The Central and North Burnett Times caught up with Mr O’Dowd to ask why Coalstoun Lakes funding was forgotten about. Q: Why was the funding denied? A: Ken O’Dowd: The Coalstoun Lakes district is home to some of the most fertile volcanic soils in the country and water has always been the limiting factor to their production of reliable high-value crops. While I am very supportive of any project that may increase the economic productivity of our region, the realities of cost/benefit are always going to be taken into account when attributing taxpayer funds.
The first round of National Water Infrastructure Fund grants were for feasibility studies into water projects to develop agriculture. The Fund took 60 expressions of interest for funding in this round; these expressions were pitted against each other in a competitive process before a panel of experts. Of the successful projects, one is in the North Burnett.
The Gayndah water infrastructure project is an exciting opportunity to develop pre-existing infrastructure to enhance the capacity of Claude Wharton Weir and in turn see rich agricultural investment within an impressive time frame. This is an exciting prospect for the North Burnett and I will be watching for the results of the study. Q: Is there another round that funding could be looked at? A: Ken O’Dowd:
There is not likely to be further feasibility funding from the federal government. There is, however, the opportunity for the Coalstoun Lakes Development Group to apply for funding in the Capital rounds – they will have to fund their feasibility study from elsewhere.
FERTILE LAND: This group have a bird’s-eye view of the Coalstoun Lakes valley, which is calling out for a constant supply of water.