Now that Prime Minister Scott Morrison has committed $54 million to the project, the first stage of the Hell’s Gate Dam in North Queensland will go ahead. Morrison was in Townsville this week, and following meetings with representatives in the area, agreed to fund stage one of the project in Big Rocks Weir.
Morrison also committed $180 million in Federal funding for the Hughenden Irrigation Scheme project. This comes after a feasibility study into the construction of Hells Gate released last month deemed the $5.35 billion irrigated agriculture and power project on the upper Burdekin River to be viable.
The report said the scheme had the potential to redefine Northern Queensland’s agriculture sector and underpin long term export market growth and investment.
Charters Towers Regional Council Mayor Liz Schmidt has said Big Rocks Weir was the community’s most important infrastructure project. “Water security, especially for agriculture, will be a major issue into the future. Phase One of the Hells Gates project would see the realisation of our community’s single most important infrastructure project; Big Rocks Weir.”
She continued: “The establishment of a vibrant agriculture industry associated with the realisation of the Hells Gates Dam project and the development of Big Rocks Weir will have a direct and enduring positive impact upon the economy of Charters Towers and North Queensland. Big Rocks Weir would not only provide the Charters Towers community with a long-term water security solution but would also act as a first phase pilot project supportive of fast tracking the development of up to 5,000 hectares of arable land adjacent to the Hells Gates project’s most southern weir.”