Rookwood Weir project reaches significant milestone
The $367.2 million Rookwood Weir project reached a significant milestone on Friday, with the announcement in-river construction was underway.
Rookwood Weir is being built on the Fitzroy River, 66 kilometres southwest of Rockhampton.
Once complete, the more than 16-metre high weir would enable a transition to higher value agricultural land use and facilitate new industrial business opportunities in the region.
The 18-metre high concrete Riverslea Bridge upgrade was also nearly complete.
The upgrade would replace the existing crossing with a single 3.5-metre wide road lane, connecting the approaches to the bridge with the existing road, including passing bays at both ends, and demolishing the existing culvert crossing.
The Capricorn Highway intersection upgrade at Gogango and the upgrade and widening of Thirsty Creek Road have been completed.
Works on the upgrade to Foleyvale Bridge and its approach roads are expected to commence in early 2022.
Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry, who said it was great to visit the site and see the workers camp, welcomed the start of construction.
Ms Landry said it had been a long time coming for farmers, landowners, and graziers.
“In October 2019, I joined farmers and the agriculture industry in Central Queensland to demand the Queensland Government build Rookwood Weir to its full capacity of 76,000 megalitres of high priority water, not the downsized 54,000 megalitre version they were proposing,” she said.
“While we still don’t know whether it will be medium priority water, high priority water or mix of both, the start of construction is an important milestone.
“The project will provide at least 140 jobs for workers in Central Queensland and the now complete workers’ camp will provide quarters for crews working 10 days on, four days off, to build the weir.
“I welcome the economic opportunities the workers’ camp will provide to many workers, not only those that will help build the weir, but also local housekeeping and maintenance workers.”
She said the Federal Government had invested $183.6 million into the project.
“I fought hard for federal funding and to make sure water is allocated to the agricultural sector at a fair price,” she said.
“Much like our farmers, I wanted it built once and built properly.
“I will continue to speak out on behalf of local farmers and the agriculture industry in Central Queensland to make sure that everyone gets their fair share of water from Rookwood Weir at a fair price.
“I want to assure the local farmers of Capricornia that I have their back and I will not rest until I can be assured that everyone is treated as fairly as possible.
“Today is a great start, I feel we have turned the corner so let’s work together to build the real Rookwood Weir.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack said the Rookwood Weir project was creating employment and economic development opportunities while increasing water security for Central Queensland.
“This is a project that will deliver 200 jobs during construction and expand irrigated agricultural production in the Lower Fitzroy River Region by providing an additional 86,000 megalitres of water,” Mr McCormack said.
“The Rookwood Weir is a great example of the Australian Government delivering the water infrastructure that will become the National Water Grid, our $3.5 billion investment to secure Australia’s water future.”
Queensland Regional Development and Manufacturing Minister and Water Minister Glenn Butcher said Rookwood Weir was a transformative project for Central Queensland.
“Water is the lifeblood of our regional communities and industries and the Queensland Government’s vision is for water to be secure, affordable and accessible,” Mr Butcher said.
“More water from Rookwood Weir represents more opportunity for irrigators in the Lower Fitzroy to increase their production, grow their businesses and create more jobs for Queenslanders.
“By delivering this project, the Queensland Government is delivering water security and prosperity for the entire Rockhampton region.”
Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said local suppliers were winners too with the camp getting the opportunity to provide catering, housekeeping, and maintenance services.
“This is just another way in which this government is setting up Central Queensland for the future,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“Jobs today in building the weir, jobs tomorrow for the irrigators, and jobs in the future industries the weir will support.”
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said the Federal Government was committed to delivering the water security central and north Queenslanders needed, wanted, expected, and deserved.
“This is about delivering for our regional communities who rely on water,” Mr O’Dowd said.
“We know water will be key to growing our agricultural industry to a $100 billion enterprise by 2030.”
SunWater chief executive officer Glenn Stockton said it was pleasing to see construction activity ramping up at the weir site after many months of preparatory work.
“There are almost 100 workers currently housed in the accommodation camp with more arriving every day,” Mr Stockton said.
“An on-site concrete batch plant will start operation next week with bulk earthworks on the left and right riverbank continuing.
“SunWater is excited to be delivering this important project which will provide water security for the region, as well as jobs and economic opportunities for businesses and industry.”
The Rookwood Weir project is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments, which are each contributing $183.6 million, and delivered in partnership with SunWater.
The first water from Rookwood Weir is expected to be available in 2023.