Monday, 30 May 2016

Rookwood Weir Funding

Rookwood Weir Funding - more questions than answers

Whilst anything that supports Agriculture is welcomed by Central Queensland locals, the Rookwood Weir $130M funding announcement may have came as a surprise to those that will be directly impacted by the effects of the infrastructure.

Late last year meetings with Landholders affected by the Weir as well as Eden Bann were held across CQ. Whilst most landholders were happy with the possible opportunities the Weirs could create two very important issues were debated and are still being debated now.

Firstly, landholders directly affected by the Weir by possibly inundation easements were quite surprised at the lack of notice and consultation in regard to the EIS process.

Agforce invited landholders to attending meetings in August last year at Alton Downs and Duaringa to discuss and find out more information about the Weir Projects. At these meetings, some Landowners commented that they were only alerted to the EIS process and the possible impacts to their properties by their local Agforce representative. GHD EIS Consultant, Geraldine Squires, at the meeting for Eden Bann advised that Landholders had been written to, although many at that meeting advised her that they had not received notices and that further they had not heard from any Weir representatives for some years. The audience at both the meetings held at both Alton Downs and Duaringa last year made it very clear that more consultation about the project was necessary. The words “Inundation” and “Resumption” are not nice words to hear and the key to keeping landholders positive in regard to these projects is more consultation.

Secondly, landholders have queried on more than one occasion how much water will cost once the infrastructure is built. A real problem for Landholders is the affordability of water allocations, electricity and irrigation equipment. Members of the Eden Bann meeting in Alton Downs expressed their concerns that once the price of water is fixed and advertised, it may then increase and be unaffordable. The same query was asked of the political hosts of the public consultation meeting held on 28 October 2015 . That query was never answered.

Funding for Agriculture is always welcomed in CQ, but more information and guidance for Landholders is required. If you have any queries about the EIS process, the process of land resumptions or require advice in regard to these projects please do not hesitate to contact Melanie Findlay of the Energy, Environment and Agribusiness Team at Rees R & Sydney Jones.

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