Blind­side has state seek­ing de­tails

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CLARE ARM­STRONG

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”.

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