Townsville Bulletin

Call for water rethink



NORTH Queensland MP Bob Katter has accused economic lobby group Townsville Enterprise of using public money he secured to assess the wrong dam scheme.

But Townsville Enterprise chief executive Claudia Brumme-smith says that its priority, in managing the Hells Gates dam studies, is securing water for North Queensland.

The Kennedy MP, who has long dreamt of a Bradfields­tyle water scheme to irrigate the western plains, is dismayed at the direction of studies assessing the viability of a 2100 gigalitre dam at Hells Gates on the Burdekin River.

It would support 50,000ha of high value cropping along the Burdekin River and an up to 850MW pumped storage hydro-electricit­y scheme.

Mr Katter, who helped author a revised Bradfield scheme in the 1980s, says Townsville Enterprise is using $24m he secured when he held the balance of power in the parliament “to betray the people of North Queensland and Australia”.

He says a Hells Gate dam can open country southwest of Charters Towers, not along the Burdekin River, and that a portion of waters from the Upper Herbert, South Johnstone and Tully rivers can be turned inland to irrigate the blacksoil plains in the midwest in North and Central Queensland.

“TEL and (consultant­s Snowy Mountains Engineerin­g Corporatio­n) are operating with a combinatio­n of

inertia born out of laziness and arrogance, which brooks no interferen­ce from reality or the people of Australia,” Mr Katter said.

He said he would meet with Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce this month to “get the project back on track”.

“Barnaby Joyce is on the side of the angels, and he has clearly and proactivel­y served notice on the individual­s involved in destroying the long-held dreams of the Australian people who want to see the Bradfield scheme built,” Mr Katter said.

TEL with SMEC managed the delivery of a feasibilit­y study in 2018 and is now nearing completion of a $24m business case for the federal government.

The course for the business case appears to have been set during the feasibilit­y stage under a leadership group comprising Charters Towers Regional Council, Townsville City Council and the TEL board.

Ms Brumme-smith said she appreciate­d people were passionate about water security.

“Water is getting more and

more precious and Townsville North Queensland needs to secure water for its population growth, sustainabl­e agricultur­e, advanced manufactur­ing and new green energy production,” she said.

“Our priority is securing water for North Queensland, not anywhere else.

“Our region receives a sixweek downpour once a year that we want to see that captured and utilised to supply our communitie­s and industries. Hells Gates can do just that.”

Ms Brumme-smith said Townsville Enterprise was

working to have a dam developmen­t off the ground that was feasible, financiall­y viable, and to a scale that ticked the boxes for all stakeholde­rs and all levels of government.

“Reaching the right scale and financial feasibilit­y is something all stakeholde­rs are working on together to achieve with Hells Gates,” she said. “We are facing the most stringent environmen­tal laws than ever seen before, which is why the first dam to be built in 60 years needs to be a scalable and economical­ly viable project.”

 ?? ?? Bob Katter wants a Burdekin water scheme to irrigate the western blacksoil plains of north and central Queensland.
Bob Katter wants a Burdekin water scheme to irrigate the western blacksoil plains of north and central Queensland.

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