Hopes for dam and irrigation projects throughout regional Queensland have been buoyed by news of a $500 million-plus increase to the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the federal government would work with the State Government to identify and co-fund the construction of new water infrastructure projects.
“This is an historic announcement and is great news for Far North Queensland and especially for projects such as the Nullinga and Lakeland Dam projects,” Mr Entsch said.
“The Nullinga Dam final business case is due to be handed down in the first-half of 2019 so it would make perfect sense that money from this fund could be allocated towards the project.”
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said water security was a key priority for the federal government.
He said the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund’s expansion to more than $1 billion, as well as the existing $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility program, meant more than $3 billion was now available from the federal government to support State and Territory Governments and their project partners, to build new water infrastructure and provide greater social and economic opportunity for Australians.
“We aren’t afraid to back dams. We want to build more of them,” Mr McCormack said.
“If we want to create jobs and grow regional Australia then we need to add water.
“This announcement will turbocharge the construction of water infrastructure because our agricultural industries expect it and our communities deserve it.”
More than $426 million has already been committed through the fund to get construction underway on a series of key water infrastructure projects in Queensland.
This includes $54 million for Hells Gates Dam, $182 million for the Hughenden Irrigation Scheme, $176 million for Rookwood Weir, $11 million for the Mareeba-Dimbulah Water Supply Scheme and $3 million for the Nogoa Mackenzie Water Supply Scheme.
“We have also provided nearly $25 million for 15 feasibility studies to identify potential new water infrastructure projects that could increase water supply and security for farmers, businesses and communities in Queensland,” Mr McCormack said.
Further information on the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund is available at https://infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure/water-infrastructure/nwi-development-fund/.