​Media release

Australian Government delivering on water infrastructure for Queensland

17 January 2017

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce announces $6.6 million to kick-start planning for 7 major water projects in Queensland:

  • This is in addition to the $5 million for the Nullinga Dam study, which is underway
  • A further $13.2 million available for a further seven projects for Queensland with Premier Palaszczuk told not to return from regional tour this week without committing to the projects
  • New funding part of the Coalition Government’s signature $2.5 billion National Water Infrastructure Development Fund and National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility
  • Projects announced today for Bundaberg, Gayndah, Fitzroy, Burdekin, Lockyer and Clermont regions

The Coalition Government has approved $6.6 million for a further seven feasibility studies for major water infrastructure projects in Queensland after the State Government was finally pressured into making funding submissions.

(MEDIA NOTE: Full details of projects at the end of media statement)

Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, said the Coalition Government has committed a further $13.2 million for a further seven projects and warned Premier Palaszczuk  ‘not to return from her regional trip this week without a commitment from the Queensland Government for the outstanding projects.

Mr Joyce said the Coalition Government was determined to fast-track the water infrastructure projects in Queensland as a part of its signature National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

“The states must submit project delivery schedules for the feasibility studies that the federal Coalition Government has committed to fund and, in Queensland’s case, not only has their commitment to water infrastructure been questionable, but the speed with which schedules have been submitted has been sloth-like,” Mr Joyce said.

“The successful projects were announced in May. All other successful states and territories were excited by the funding commitment and got to work months ago, yet the Queensland Government has had to be forced to commit to deliver the projects. This is despite Queensland being offered half of the national funding.”

Nonetheless the Deputy Prime Minister said he was pleased that the State Government finally submitted applications on 19th December for a feasibility studies for seven projects in addition to the Nullinga Dam study which has already begun: 
  1. Bundaberg Channel Capacity Upgrade
  2. Gayndah Regional Irrigation Development
  3. Lockyer Valley Aquifer Recharge
  4. Burdekin Falls Dam Raising
  5. Burdekin Haughton Channel       
  6. Lower Fitzroy River Infrastructure
  7. Clermont Water Security
“Today’s announcement takes the total funding approved for Queensland by the Coalition Government to $11.6 million for feasibility studies, including Nullinga Dam. But my clear message to the Queensland Government is that I have a further $13.2 million on the table for a remaining seven projects,” Mr Joyce said.

“Premier Palaszczuk has indicated she is touring regional Queensland this week. My challenge to her is that if she returns without a commitment to submit schedules for the remaining water projects, then she has not been listening to the people of regional Queensland who know that water equals jobs and economic growth.

"Dams for our nation are a tangible vision overwhelmingly supported Australians.

“Queensland’s agriculture sector makes an important contribution to our nation’s economy, worth almost $12 billion—or 22 per cent of our nation’s total agricultural production.

“These feasibility studies are not simply a planning exercise. We are backing up this work with a further $2.44 billion available nationally for capital works under the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund and National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility.

“We have already earmarked $130 million of this capital funding for Rookwood Weir, a project which has the potential to double agricultural production in the region, unlocking an additional $1 billion in production value.

“We are currently accepting applications from state and territory governments for nearly $200 million of grant funding that is uncommitted. While other state water ministers, from both Labor and Coalition governments, are kicking down my door fighting for the funds to get building, Minister Bailey has expressed to me that we are moving too quickly and that Queensland does not have shovel ready projects.

“I refuse to believe that this is true given the enormous potential for the development of Queensland’s water resources. It’s time the Palaszczuk Government stopped sacrificing the growth of regional Queensland in order to keep the green ideologues in Brisbane happy.”

Fast facts

  • The Australian Government is making the most significant investment in water infrastructure in Australian history, including $2.5 billion under the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund and National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility.
  • Since September 2013, the Australian Government has invested around $1.5 billion in water infrastructure across the country.
  • Irrigated agricultural production in Queensland is worth $3.6 billion—almost 30 per cent of the state’s total value of agricultural production.
  • Queensland has a total accessible water storage capacity of around 10.43 GL—currently this is around 70% full at about 7.34 GL.
National Water Infrastructure Development Fund Feasibility Component: Queensland projects agreed to date:

  1. $5 million for Nullinga Dam Feasibility Study – assessing the economic feasibility of the proposed Nullinga Dam on the Walsh River and other potential options to service future urban demand in the Cairns area and rural demand in the Mareeba-Dimbulah Irrigation Area.
  2. $750 000 for Bundaberg Channel Capacity Upgrade Feasibility Study - assessment of potential locations for new broad scale irrigation developments in the Wide Bay Burnett region, supported by concept level engineering to identify options for water delivery to these areas.
  3. $1 231 024 for Gayndah Regional Irrigation Development (GRID) Project Feasibility Study – investigating the feasibility of developing water resources through reinstating the crest level of Claude Wharton Weir, utilising existing water reserves and the transfer of un-utilised water allocations to service priority irrigation areas in the Reids Creek and Byrnestown/Wetherton areas.
  4. $120 000 for Lockyer Valley Aquifer Recharge Feasibility Study – investigating options for alternative secure water supplies and innovative water delivery mechanisms to agricultural users in the Lockyer Creek catchment.
  5. $400 000 for Burdekin Falls Dam Raising Feasibility Study – assessing potential costs, demand for water from, and environmental impacts of, raising the Burdekin Falls Dam to provide water and supply security for urban, agriculture and industrial developments in the region.
  6. $1.915 million for Burdekin Haughton Channel Capacity Upgrade Feasibility Study – investigating the channel capacity limitations and feasibility of options for augmenting the Burdekin Haughton Water Supply Scheme to facilitate the use of available water allocations.
  7. $2 million for Lower Fitzroy River Infrastructure Project Business Case – assessing the feasibility of the project to address water supply security and economic development opportunities within the region.
  8. $225 000 for Clermont Water Security Feasibility Study – assessing the feasibility of securing reliable long term water supply for Clermont and development in the Galilee Basin through new and upgraded major water infrastructure for Clermont and augmentation and remediation works on the Theresa Creek Dam.