ONCE again the Rookwood Weir has been thrown back into the political football game – and this time, it was Labor coming out with announcements.
After Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would put $176 million on the table for Rookwood, it was Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten who came out to announce further funding for the project.
“After 20 and 30 years of talk and no action about Rookwood Weir, I pledge that my Federal Labor Government would allocate $176 million to match the Queensland Government's $176 million and at last we could unlock the agricultural potential of that part of the Fitzroy,” Mr Shorten said.
“There's so much good, high value, quality crops which could be generated from there; soybeans and sorghum, macadamias, grapes.
“It is a potential real food bowl in Central Queensland and what we need to do is have a government in Canberra who just gets on with it.
“I mean people have been talking about Rookwood Weir since Adam was a baby.
“Now it's time for us to just get on with it.”
“So our offer to match the Queensland Government’s $176 million at long last deals with one of the overdue issues in infrastructure, in agriculture, in this region.”
Despite historically the LNP being on the forefront when it came to Rookwood, Mr Shorten called out the party.
“So now the missing link is for the LNP to stop jawboning and talking and just match Labor’s promise,” he said.
“This is a promise which doesn't have to wait until the next election.
“Why don't we take the politics out of Rookwood Weir and the LNP just actually match what we're saying.”
But Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry welcomed the Queensland Premier foreshadowing the commitment to half-fund construction of the Rookwood Weir.
“It is a refreshing moment to see the Queensland Government finally come to the party, just 625 days after I secured $130 million federal funding for the project,” she said.
“This has been my number one project for CQ since I got elected in 2013.
“I have fought tooth-and-nail to get the $130 million currently on the table and, since finally receiving the business case, I have been lobbying the relevant ministers for an increase to this funding.
“This project is bigger than politics; it is about delivering economic opportunity to Central Queenslanders, with over 2,100 ongoing jobs and $1 billion economic boost forecast, Rookwood provides just that.
“I am certainly pleased to see the State Government on board and I can’t wait to see physical progress at the site.”
Ms Landry also welcomed Mr Shorten’s engagement with the project.
“It doesn’t matter how late you get there, the important thing is that under intense leadership pressure from his Infrastructure Spokesman, Mr Shorten has finally worked out where Central Queensland is,” said Ms Landry.
“Perhaps by supporting the idea of delivering jobs through infrastructure like Rookwood Weir, Mr Shorten can realign his support for job-creating infrastructure in the Galilee Basin.”
However despite the funding promises, there is still no new information about a potential start date or any actual advancement for the project.