Renders of the proposed Nathan Dam provided by Sunwater.
Renders of the proposed Nathan Dam provided by Sunwater. SUNWATER

'Critical' $1.2b dam could bring 'huge' economic benefits

TAKING advantage of a set meeting with Resources and Northern Australia Minister, Senator Matt Canavan, Gladstone Regional councillors have thrown their support behind a number of up-and-coming projects.

A meeting between Senator Canavan, Gladstone Region mayor Matt Burnett and deputy mayor Chris Trevor was aimed at pushing Gladstone as the ideal location for Australia's next power station.

However, councillors took the time to push for involvement and support in other federal projects including the Rookwood Weir Development; construction of the Nathan Dam along the Dawson River and backing of the feasibility study into connecting the Inland Rail project to Gladstone.

With last week's approval of the $1.2b Nathan Dam project, Cr Chris Trevor said it would open up large areas for agriculture opportunity, which could be exported through the Gladstone port.

The project is not a new one to the table however, it was only more recently brought back into discussions, after a population of endangered snails found at the proposed site caused it to be shelved nine years ago.

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Cr Trevor said the construction of the dam would also place an urgency for the construction of an agricultural corridor to be built into the port.

"(The dam) would also open up the Surat Basin for coal mining and in turn provide thousands of jobs for central Queenslanders," Cr Trevor said.

"...And this would see potential increased coal exports through the port as well as a building boom all the way from Hervey Bay to Gladstone."

Cr Burnett said they told Senator Canavan that the council was 100% behind the Rookwook Weir development.

"(Not only) because of the jobs for Central Queenslander', but also for water security and agriculture opportunities," he said.

"We again call on the Queensland Government to support the weir.

"It's a critical piece of infrastructure for Gladstone; a catalyst to providing infrastructure needed to allow the Rockhampton to Gladstone water pipeline to proceed with drought proofing CQ, supporting jobs and providing water security for existing and future industry.

"The 24,500ha of state development area is ready to go."

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Cr Burnett said he would also be keen to see the inland rail link project blow full steam ahead.

In 2016 the Coalition announced it would provide $250,000 towards a study into linking up Gladstone to the freight corridor between Melbourne and Brisbane; which has the potential of providing multiple export opportunities and job creation for communities and industries along the corridor.

"It would be a fantastic nation building project," Cr Burnett said.

"The link would provide huge economic benefits to the whole of the Eastern seaboard, allowing Gladstone to bring product in from south-east Asia and elsewhere.

"It would also allow us to export Australian products through the port and to consider building an intermodal transport facility in Gladstone creating hundreds, if not thousands of jobs, depending on size of the facility."

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