The Federal Government has announced that it will be relocating the North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority (NQWIA) to Bowen in north Queensland, to provide an economic boost for the region.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Barnaby Joyce, said moving the NQWIA north will put it at the heart of the region it supports.
“This shift will see the North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority strategically located adjacent to the proposed Urannah Dam, and the same region where we are building the Big Rocks Weir project and investigating a future Hells Gates Dam,” Mr Joyce said.
“North Queensland is also where we will start on the long-term nation-building task of expanding irrigated agriculture by moving a portion of the abundant resource of water west.
“The Authority will become a bigger organisation, with the people and skills to realise the economic transformation of north Queensland. This expanded organisation will have the task of delivering my strategy of moving water from where it is plentiful, to open up new opportunities for agriculture in the west.
“This will of course require new dams and pipelines. It will be a major undertaking and will change our vision for the future of that region for decades to come.”
Mr Joyce also said that Northern Australia holds enormous agricultural opportunities and has the potential to be the future food bowl of Asia.
“Irrigation is the key to realising this, which is why the Government will work to move water from areas where there is an abundance to towns and communities inland, to irrigate the regional soils of Queensland,” Mr Joyce said.
Federal Member for Dawson, George Christensen, also welcomed the announcement.
“This move will create skilled, highly paid jobs in the region, encouraging new families to move to the region to support the local economy, including local businesses and service providers,” Mr Christensen said.
“This will stimulate flow-on jobs later down the track – making this a truly exciting time for north Queensland.”
The Federal Government has announced $108 million of funding to deliver 40 new projects through the National Water Grid Connections funding pathway, to improve water security and reliability across the nation.
The $3.5 billion National Water Grid Fund is focusing on national water security, promoting local economic activity and job creation – with 70 National Water Grid construction projects in total.
For more information on the North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority, visit: www.nqwia.gov.au