Un­cer­tainty over project fund­ing


Central Queensland News - - CQ INDUSTRY -

Key con­sid­er­a­tions in the busi­ness case in­cluded; water de­mand, water pric­ing, fund­ing and fi­nanc­ing mod­els, de­liv­ery and op­er­at­ing mod­els, and costs, risks and ben­e­fits as­so­ci­ated with the pro­posed in­fra­struc­ture.

Last De­cem­ber, the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment’s Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter, Dr An­thony Lyn­ham, fore­shad­owed that the fig­ure of $260 mil­lion needed to build Rook­wood Weir was out­dated be­cause it was based on a 10-year-old En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pact State­ment.

This proved to be true when Dr Lyn­ham vis­ited Rock­hamp­ton in early Jan­u­ary to re­lease the busi­ness case and re­vealed that the true cost of build­ing Rook­wood Weir was $352 mil­lion – $92 mil­lion more than the ini­tial es­ti­mate.

He said the Rook­wood Weir project was not vi­able if the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment was un­will­ing to add more funds to its ex­ist­ing $130 mil­lion com­mit­ment.

“Without a fair con­tri­bu­tion from Canberra, the price of the water will be too high for farm­ers and other po­ten­tial users,” Dr Lyn­ham said.

“Go back to your bosses in Canberra with this busi­ness case and bring more funds to the ta­ble.”

Min­is­ter for North­ern Aus­tralia Matt Cana­van in­di­cated a strong will­ing­ness to progress the project as quickly as pos­si­ble, cit­ing his duty of care to Rock­hamp­ton and Glad­stone, whose water sup­ply was vul­ner­a­ble af­ter only one hy­po­thet­i­cal missed wet sea­son.

Se­na­tor Cana­van said the eas­i­est way for­ward would be for the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment to put for­ward a de­tailed ap­pli­ca­tion re­quir­ing an equal con­tri­bu­tion from State and Fed­eral gov­ern­ments.

“We want to get the price down to meet the mar­ket. They think through this busi­ness case that will re­quire more money from us to do that,” he said.

“We’ve got more than $7 bil­lion to spend on water in­fra­struc­ture so of course we’ll con­sider any ap­pli­ca­tion from the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment.

“Let’s work it out, let’s just do it, I’m sick of all the to and fro.”

Se­na­tor Cana­van has spo­ken with Na­tion­als Leader Barn­aby Joyce (Rook­wood Weir falls un­der his re­spon­si­bil­ity) and he ex­pressed a will­ing­ness to con­sider a 50:50 ar­range­ment with the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment for the new price, which would work out at $176 mil­lion each.

“If they don’t want to put up their 50 per cent, then it’s a lot harder. We’ll have to go away and think about what we can do,” he said.

“We’re open for busi­ness on water, we’re open to their ap­pli­ca­tion if it’s 50:50 and we’ll do every­thing we can to se­cure the water sup­ply for Cen­tral Queens­land.”

An in­fra­struc­ture-project-hun­gry CQ cur­rently awaits an amended fed­eral fund­ing of­fer.

Once it comes, the re­gion will sweat on whether the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment will match it.


PROJECT STALLED: Kep­pel MP Brit­tany Lauga, Min­is­ter for Nat­u­ral Re­sources Dr An­thony Lyn­ham and Rock­hamp­ton MP Barry O'Rourke re­leased the busi­ness case for the Rook­wood Weir project last month.


Rook­wood Weir site.

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