ROOKWOOD RESPONSE: After irrigators raised concerns about the Rookwood Weir project, the Minister for Natural Resources Anthony Lynham has moved to set the record straight.
ROOKWOOD RESPONSE: After irrigators raised concerns about the Rookwood Weir project, the Minister for Natural Resources Anthony Lynham has moved to set the record straight.

Minister responds to farmers’ Rookwood Weir feedback

AFTER copping negative feedback from farmers and primary producers over his government’s handling of the Rookwood Weir project, Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham has responded.

Over the past week, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry has consulted with future agricultural users of the weir’s water to gauge their thoughts on the redesigned Rookwood Weir’s final capacity and water allocations.

They raised concerns about the uncertainty created by a “lack of general information on how the project is progressing”, a “lack of consultation on behalf of the Queensland Government regarding final water allocations for farmers”, and they were seeing “little to no progress made on land acquisitions and purchases”.

Minister for Natural Resources Anthony Lynham responded saying his government was delivering Rookwood, and to find proof, you only had to look at the workers in hi-vis at Thirsty Creek Road and Gogango.

“A 25-person Rockhampton Regional Council crew has completed almost half of the upgrade to Thirsty Creek with 11,000 metres of the 16,500-metre road alignment either completed or under construction,” Dr Lynham said.

“The upgrade to the Capricorn Highway Intersection at Gogango is now 21 per cent complete. “The $2.1 million project employs 15 people is due to be finished in mid-2020.”

According to the minster, a contractor to build the Riverslea Bridge would be announced in late April with work to start in June, employing 15 workers.

A Rockhampton Regional Council machine at work at Thirsty Creek with road upgrade work being carried out as part of the Rookwood Weir project.
A Rockhampton Regional Council machine at work at Thirsty Creek with road upgrade work being carried out as part of the Rookwood Weir project.

He said there was other extensive work continuing behind the scenes.

“Over the past six months, Sunwater has engaged with about 3400 people regarding the Rookwood Weir project by phone, email, letter and at information sessions and industry briefings. Even with public gatherings now restricted by the pandemic, Sunwater continues to keep CQ informed, with more than 2000 stakeholders set to receive emails and letters this week updating them on the project,” he said.

“Sunwater has been working with 30 landholders since last year about access and acquisition. “I am advised that they will all receive documentation and compensation offers by the end of this month.”

As he outlined in his letter to the Deputy Prime Minister last week, Dr Lynham said he was preparing to commence a process to amend the local water plan to settle the volumes and mix of water allocations that would be available to Rookwood users.

“This legislated process involves extensive consultation with stakeholders on the ground, continuing the extensive community engagement already undertaken by the Queensland Government,” he said.

“It will involve more than a few telephone calls made by the Member for Capricornia, who seems determined to undermine the project.

“Local business is positive about Rookwood: nearly 220 local businesses have registered online to provide goods and services.”

Dr Lynahm said local MPs, Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke and Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga, were positive about the Rookwood project.

“CQ would be better off if the Member for Capricornia would be positive about this region-changing project and pursue a final partnership agreement with her colleague, the Deputy Prime Minister,” he said.

CONSTRUCTION IMMINENT: Artist's impression of the planned Riverslea Bridge as part of the Rookwood Weir project.
CONSTRUCTION IMMINENT: Artist's impression of the planned Riverslea Bridge as part of the Rookwood Weir project.