$ 300m a boost for NQ water resources
NORTH Queensland could see greater access to water sources after new funding was announced.
The Federal Government’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, released on Saturday, allocated a further $ 300 million to the National Water Infrastructure Fund.
The fund was established in the Northern Australia White Paper with an earlier commitment of $ 200 million, with new funds taking the total to half a billion dollars.
The paper’s focus is on the development of vital water storage projects including dam upgrades.
Regional leaders hope the Government will prioritise projects that allow increased access to the Burdekin River and Flinders River.
The paper identifies potential projects that includes “augmentation” of the Burdekin Dam and the development of the Ord River irrigation scheme in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Charters Towers Regional Council mayor Frank Beveridge said it strengthened the future of water security in North Queensland.
“Northern Australia has got a lot of untapped water and it’s already being farmed productively, so it’s a matter of the Federal Government putting money in the right areas,” he said. “If we’re able to expand our access to water along the Burdekin it would allow more opportunities for our farmers and graziers.”
Mr Beveridge said funding should go towards building two small weirs and the expansion of water allocation in the Upper Burdekin.
He said increasing the size of the Burdekin Dam should also be considered.
Townsville Enterprise chief executive Patricia O’Callaghan said there should be a focus on North Queensland projects to boost the agricultural industry.
“We have been making clear representations to the Federal Government that the Burdekin River needs to be prioritised as a nation- building project of significance in addition to the opportunities with the Flinders and Gilbert Rivers,” she said.