Coalition Senators Matt Canavan and James McGrath have thrown their support behind the further development of the proposed Nullinga Dam.
"New water is needed to assure the future water supply for Cairns and continue to build wealth and jobs on the Atherton Tableland," Senator McGrath said today.
“Supporting the growth of regional Queensland and water is an essential ingredient to that recipe.”
Senators Canavan and McGrath inspected the site of the Nullinga Dam, and spoke to local growers in Mareeba and Atherton about the dam, on a recent visit to North Queensland.
“We heard loudly from growers that there are concerns the construction of Nullinga would increase their costs. We understand that this is not the case,” Senator Canavan said.
“In my view, any future federal support for the dam must not go ahead unless there is no net cost to existing growers and irrigators. The Coalition wants to support dams and part of that strategy is to help increase food production.”
They said the importance of Nullinga Dam had been recognised in at least three separate reports in recent months: a parliamentary report on development of northern Australia; the Federal Government's green paper on agricultural competitiveness; and a Federal Government options paper on water infrastructure.
“The LNP has an unprecedented level of focus on the north. Now is the time to put forward good ideas to take advantage of this opportunity,” Senator McGrath said.
On Tuesday, Senator Canavan and Senator James McGrath joined Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce to inspect proposed irrigation projects in the Gilbert and Flinders catchments and take part in the opening ceremony for new Gulf Savannah Development Inc. offices in Normanton. They then travelled on to meet primary producers and other business operators in Karumba, Croydon, Georgetown, Mareeba, Atherton and Malanda.
Inspecting the site of the proposed Nullinga Dam on the Walsh River, near Mareeba, were (from left): Mark Matthews, Chief Executive of Advance Cairns, Senator Matt Canavan, Advance Cairns Chair Trent Twomey and Senator James McGrath.