Blindside has state seeking details
THE State Government has issued a late- night “please explain” after being blindsided by the Prime Minister’s dam spending bonanza in North Queensland.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday committed $ 54 million to Stage 1 of Hells Gates Dam, including the construction of Big Rocks Weir, and up to $ 180 million for the Hughenden Irrigation Scheme.
State Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham last night wrote to his federal counterpart, Agriculture and Water Resources Minister David Littleproud, seeking “detailed information” about his dams plan.
“Let’s be clear, we are always keen to see federal money heading for Queensland,” Dr Lynham said. “We are just not sure what is the next step, or what is expected of any Queensland Government or statutory bodies.”
In the letter, seen by the Bulletin, Dr Lynham said he needed more details to “enable the Queensland Government to understand any action ( the Federal Government) may wish from our agencies or statutory bodies”.
“While the Queensland State Government welcomes any proposed investment in Queensland, I am keen to seek further information,” he wrote.
Dr Lynham asked for further information related to:
• The nature or scope of these projects, including the bases of the costings;
• The process to advance these projects, including detailed business cases and appropriate environmental assessments;
• Advice on the due diligence completed regarding available water resources for the proposed projects;
• The intended proponents for these proposed projects;
• The proposed distribution and management of the capital funds, and what if any role are you proposing for the Queensland Government in these matters; and
• Who will be responsible for operating these assets and carrying their associated costs.
Dr Lynham said the State Government had already funded an initial investigation into the Hughenden Irrigation Project with the Flinders Shire Council. He also said an initial business case for the Hells Gates Dam project identified “significant challenges”.