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Central Queensland farmers will be able to bid for water from the $352 million Rookwood Weir from next month.

Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said tenders would open for water allocations of 500 megalitres and more from June 23, with contracts to be in place in September.

“This is the first significant development in water infrastructure and supply in CQ in more than a decade,” Dr Lynham said.

“Rookwood Weir will underpin production and industrial expansion in the Fitzroy for years to come – all of which means local jobs for the CQ community.”

Sunwater released an information memorandum setting out the two-stage sales process, with a second tender for smaller lots in 2022. 

Local members Barry O’Rourke and Brittany Lauga welcomed the latest milestone on the $352 million project.

“The start of the water sales process makes this project very tangible for the people of Central Queensland,” Mr O’Rourke said.

“It brings those construction jobs and supplier contracts even closer for the people and businesses of Rocky.”

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said a reliable supply of irrigation water would allow the region’s farmers to transition to higher value agriculture.

“Access to water will boost business investment and give farmers the opportunity to move to intensive irrigated crop production,” she said.

“That’s higher returns for them and the opportunity to expand and create more jobs.”

The first tender makes available up to 30,000 megalitres of medium priority water for agricultural and non-urban use. The second tender will make at least 7500 megalitres of smaller medium priority allocations available.

Meanwhile, the $2.2 million Capricorn Highway intersection upgrade at Gogango and the $7.5 million upgrade at Thirsty Creek Road are due to be finished next month.

A contract for the new Riverslea Bridge will be awarded soon and Sunwater is on track to enter into the alliance for the main weir package by September.

Consultation continues with local farmers, urban water authorities and industry on options for how the water in the weir could be allocated. All options in the Statement of Proposals include high priority water for Gladstone and medium priority water for farmers.

Feedback on the Statement of Proposals is open until 12 June. Consultation will be integrated into an amended Fitzroy Basin Water Plan, which will be released for more feedback in the second half of 2020.   

Visit the Sunwater website for more information about the tenders.

About Rookwood Weir

Rookwood Weir is being constructed on the Fitzroy River, 66 kilometres south-west of Rockhampton. It will create up to 100 jobs.

The thousands of megalitres of water it will make available will underpin agricultural growth and supply industrial and urban water in central Queensland.

The Palaszczuk Government has allocated $149 million over two years to allow detailed planning and design, and on ground works to proceed.

Construction is scheduled to start by April 2021, for wet commissioning in January 2024.