QUEENSLAND Senator Matt Canavan has welcomed Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s call for Australia to get over its “dam phobia” and says Central Queensland is the perfect place to start.
Senator Canavan said the Fitzroy River system had plenty of water to support new dams and new agricultural and mining enterprises.
“I agree with the PM we need to get over our fear of dams and the best place to start is the Fitzroy system.
“Six million megalitres of water flow to sea out of the Fitzroy every year,” he said. “That’s equivalent to about one fifth of the water in the entire Murray-Darling Basin. The Murray-Darling basin has enough dams to store 78% of its water.
“By contrast, the Fitzroy system has only one really big dam – Fairbairn Dam on the Nogoa River near Emerald – and it stores just 18% of the average annual flow down the Nogoa. We could be storing far more water here to create more.
“In Central Queensland, we’ve got the water and we’ve got the projects. All we’ve really lacked is the political will to make it happen. Now we have a PM who’s got the vision and determination to make infrastructure projects like these dams a reality.”
“My aerial tour with fellow federal MPs Michelle Landry and Ken O’Dowd last week just reinforced my view that dam projects are essential to create more jobs in agriculture and mining in Central Queensland and would provide a massive boost for the region’s economy.
“There are projects here ready to go. The Connors River Dam is ‘shovel ready’ – all the environmental approvals are in place, the necessary land has been purchased and construction plans have been completed. Work could start tomorrow if the money was committed.
“Planning and approvals for other projects, such as the Nathan Dam, Rookwood Weir and lifting the wall on the existing Eden Bann Weir, are close to being finalised as well. There is enormous potential. All that’s needed is the political will and the funding to go ahead.”