STATE Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington was in Far North Queensland last week to announce her commitment to delivering critical water infrastructure to the region – namely Nullinga Dam.
Ms Frecklington’s visit comes just two months after the Palaszczuk Government released the Nulling Dam’s business case and determined that it wasn’t financially viable.
Ms Frecklington said the business case, which stated that Nullinga will cost close to a billion dollars, was fl awed.
“The Labor Government have effectively ruled out the Nullinga Dam based on fl awed assumptions,” she said.
“Under Labor, the review of the capital cost has increased by 121-231 per cent since the preliminary business case.
“The Palaszczuk Government have plucked the figures for their business case out of the air, therefore it needs to be peer reviewed.
“The local mayors and interest groups don’t trust the business case – it’s a joke and the people of Far North Queensland are not going to be treated like fools by a government who are clearly anti-regions and antiwater.”
Ms Frecklington was joined in Cairns by Mareeba Shire Council Mayor Tom Gilmore, Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning, Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Council’s Executive Darlene Irvine, Advance Cairns President Trent Twomey, Cairns Chamber of Commerce President Nick Loukas and MSF Sugar Mil Manager Chris Hoare – all of whom have been outspoken about the need for more water infrastructure projects like Nullinga Dam for the sustainability of the region long-term.
“They all stood with me today in Cairns in support of the LNP’s announcement around making sure that we have water security in this region for years to come,” Ms Frecklington said.
Despite concerns over the cost of the project, Ms Frecklington said if she’s elected, an LNP State Government will work collaboratively and proactively with the Federal Government.
Despite the support Ms Frecklington received from FNQ politicians and interest groups during her visit, State Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham has questioned the Opposition Leader’s ability to deliver on her promises.
“The LNP – including the current Opposition Leader – was preparing to abandon dam building in Queensland to the private sector,” he said.
“When the Leader of the Opposition was Campbell Newman’s assistant minister, she was proud of a budget that resulted in mass public service sackings.”
Dr Lynham said the Coordinator General and his Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy were working on the best way to preserve the proposed Nullinga Dam site.
“We recognise that there might be strategic benefi ts for FNQ in preserving the site while we pursue alternative water supply options that farmers can afford,” he said.
“Our Government is supporting the expansion of irrigated agriculture in the Far North, now and into the future.
“Sunwater is progressing a $28 million project to modernise the existing open channel irrigation scheme on the Tablelands.
“It’s forecast to save more than 8000 megalitres of water alone. That’s more water that farmers can actually afford for more crops.”
It appears water infrastructure will remain a contentious point of discussion politically in this part of Queensland for years to come, and it has the potential to play a critical role in the upcoming state election in October, 2020.