Central Queensland farmers are tapping into a $1.2 million initiative, which will assist them in bidding for water, from the new Rookwood Weir.
Forty-four lower Fitzroy landholders have successfully applied for the Rookwood Weir Landholder Support Program, to better understand the opportunities available to them from the $367.7 million piece of infrastructure.
Minister for Water Glenn Butcher landholders will be able to use funding for farm and land use planning, agronomy assessment, irrigation design and commercial feasibility assessments.
"Rookwood Weir will deliver improved water security and available water supply in the region, allowing farmers to expand operations and put on more workers," Mr Butcher said.
"It will provide numerous benefits to local irrigators, including the ability to transition to higher value crops, so the Palaszczuk Government wants to make sure Queensland farmers, who are so valuable to the state's economy, have everything they need to make informed decisions.
"With the second tender for water from the weir taking place this year, it's important Central Queensland farmers can put their best foot forward as part of the process."
A minimum of 7,500 megalitres will be released in the second stage of the tender, with bidders able to apply for lots of up to 500 megalitres. This follows the successful sale of 30,000 megalitres in December 2020.
Member for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke welcomed the announcement, which is set to boost the agricultural sector and in-turn.
"This Queensland Government initiative will be an incredible injection for our region. As landholders expand their opportunities, jobs will no doubt be created through farming and the supply-chain," Mr O'Rourke said.
The Landholder Support Program is being facilitated, on behalf of Sunwater, by Advance Rockhampton, the economic development, investment, and industry growth unit of Rockhampton Regional Council.
Successful applicants can receive an onsite agricultural report, business plan support, and subsidies for independent financial advice to assist in taking part in the second stage of water sales.
Rockhampton Mayor Tony Williams said a wide variety of landholders from the region were taking part in the program.
"We have landholders looking at commercial cropping, such as grains, as well as tree crops ranging from dragon fruits to macadamias. There is also interest in accessing water to support livestock production," Mr Williams said
The applicants are from a range of locations across the Rockhampton, Central Highlands and Livingstone council areas and are interested in parcels of water from 10 megalitres right up to 500 megalitres.
The program commences this month and will run to May 2022.
Out-of-river activities are continuing at the weir site, including work on right riverbank and development of fish lock for the weir.
In-river works will ramp up again following the wet season.
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