Rookwood Weir costs set to blow out over $260m
IN A new revelation, it appears that the original price quoted to build Rookwood Weir of $260 million is no longer correct.
Queensland minister for natural resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said in a statement that the federal government's reaffirmed commitment of $130 million for Rookwood Weir was less than half of what was required to build the project.
"Any decision will take into account the overall economic benefits and costs of the project to Queensland taxpayers, including taxpayers in the Central Queensland area," Dr Lynham said.
"The Turnbull Government is only offering to contribute $130 million, which is less than half the estimated cost of the project."
The Morning Bulletin understands the original $260 million quote was based upon a 10-year-old Environmental Impact Statement and that cost would have increased over the years.
That raises questions about how much it will cost to build Rookwood and who will pay the cost difference.
Until the confidential business case was made public by the Queensland Government, that cost remains unknown.
After not being addressed at first meeting of the Queensland Cabinet on Monday, Dr Lynham confirmed the government would consider the Rookwood Weir business case in 2018 now the commonwealth has confirmed its level of support in writing.
A state government spokesperson confirmed the next Cabinet meeting was scheduled to take place on January 22 - the first day of school.
It was reported last week that Dr Lynham was due to meet with the then-federal agricultural minister Barnaby Joyce yesterday to hammer out how they intended to proceed with the project.
"I'm deeply disappointed that the Deputy Prime Minister failed to show ... for the ministerial council of water ministers, as I had hoped to discuss Rookwood with him," Dr Lynham said.
"I will be seeking to discuss the issue with the relevant ministers after today's reshuffle."
At a Rockhampton press conference yesterday, Senator Matt Canavan wouldn't speculate why Mr Joyce didn't attend the meeting after saying he would.
With yesterday's federal ministerial reshuffle, Mr Joyce's focus has now shifted into the infrastructure portfolio.
First-term Nationals backbencher David Littleproud will be the Agricultural Minister responsible for Rookwood going forward.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said after over eighteen months of stalling, the state Labor Government's petulance was concerning.
"For Minister Lynham to describe the Federal Government commitment to Rookwood as "only $130 million" shows just how false their façade of job-creation really is," Ms Landry said.
"The Federal Government has put this hefty figure on the table to see infrastructure built in CQ.
"At the end of the day, the weir and its water will belong to the state government, surely it is reasonable they commit funding to the project as well?"
She said any increase in construction estimate will be due solely to the reluctance and foot-dragging of Premier Palaszczuk and her "do-nothing cabinet".
"How much longer do we in Central Queensland have to wait to be deemed worthy of economic infrastructure?" she said.
Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan, Mr Joyce, Dr Lynham and the Queensland Premier's office have been approached for further comments on this story.