Thursday, April 18, 2024

Water tenders to flow to Queensland farmers

Central Queensland farmers will be able to bid for water from the $367.2 million Rookwood Weir, with online tenders now open, the State Government has announced.

Queensland Minister for Water Glenn Butcher said 50% of water from the weir would be allocated to agricultural use. 

“This is a game-changer for the region, and I encourage local growers to put their hand up for the new water to help expand and improve their businesses, or transition to high-value crops,” the Minister said.

“The flow-on benefits for the broader community will be enormous, as a boost to the agricultural sector will result in more good jobs and better services. 

“Building the weir is delivering good, secure jobs and economic benefits for Central Queensland right now – while the water it captures will provide more of the same for future generations,” he said.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek said the second tranche of water licenses was now available from the weir, which is currently under construction west of Rockhampton. 

“The Rookwood Weir project will ensure a secure future for water in Central Queensland, supporting farmers and agriculture, and also town water supplies,” she said.

“Landholders located along the Lower Fitzroy River system can take part in this water tender, which provides a great opportunity for them to sustainably diversify and expand their farming activities.” 

The second tender makes available 7,500 megalitres of medium priority water in lots from 10 megalitres up to 500 megalitres for agricultural and non-urban use. 

It closes at 2pm on 3 February 2023, with bids to be submitted via the Queensland Government’s QTenders website. 

The second tender follows the successful completion of the first stage of the process in December 2020, which provided an allocation of 30,000 megalitres. 

Rockhampton MP, Barry O’Rourke said the water will benefit landholders planning commercial cropping, such as grains, as well as tree crops, such as dragon fruits and macadamias. It will also support livestock production. 

“We expect strong local interest in the tender with more than 70 landholders registering an expression of interest in securing a water allocation,” he said. 

“Additionally, more than 40 landholders took part in a Sunwater-funded program that was facilitated by Advance Rockhampton and provided advice to on how to capitalise on business opportunities through water from the weir.” 

Rockhampton Regional Council Mayor, Tony Williams said the program was extremely successful in preparing landholders to take part in the water tender. 

“An abundance of water creates great opportunities and it’s been exciting for Rockhampton Regional Council to work with landholders to ensure they make informed decisions,” he said. 

“We can’t wait to see our hardworking farmers grow and diversify the region’s agricultural product with the Rookwood Weir project itself now another step closer to completion.” 

Rookwood Weir is jointly funded by the Queensland and Australian governments, delivered in partnership with Sunwater. 

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