Mackay dam project declared ‘most advanced’ in Qld
A MAJOR water scheme set to deliver hundreds of jobs to the region has been elevated to the status of "most advanced dam project" in the state.
Queensland's Co-ordinator-General has declared Urannah Dam a new co-ordinated project.
This means it will now go through an impact assessment process to determine any significant environmental, social, cultural and economic impacts it may have on the region.
The game-changing project has the potential to create up to 1200 full-time equivalent jobs during construction and 675 full-time jobs once operational.
It would deliver a new dam on Broken River, with a capacity of up to 1.5 million megalitres, as well as a water pipeline network and an irrigated precinct for high value agriculture.
The dam project would also include a pumped hydro-electricity power scheme in the upper Broken River Valley, north west of Mackay.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the progress of schemes like Urannah Dam would help secure the state's future.
"Jobs and water security are two of the most important things for Queensland right now," she said.
"If we're backing industry and helping facilitate big projects, we're putting more Queenslanders into jobs."
Dawson MP George Christensen said the State Government move to recognise Urannah Dam as a significant project would boost its credibility in the eyes of investors and all levels of future governments.
He said this showed a major shift in thinking.
"That makes this dam the most advanced dam project in Queensland," Mr Christensen said.
"I would dearly like to see this project constructed sooner rather than later.
"It is a great move by the State Government and I thank them for it, in particular (Mackay MP) Julieanne Gilbert."
Mrs Gilbert said the proponent, Bowen River Utilities, could now begin preparing a comprehensive environmental impact statement.
"The ongoing rigorous assessment will include extensive community consultation, so locals can help shape the requirements of the EIS," she said.
State Development Minister Cameron Dick said proposals for new water infrastructure in central and northern Queensland would continue to be explored.
"If there's a big job-creating project proposed for Queensland that has merit, we'll look at it," Mr Dick said.
In March, Urannah Dam reached a major milestone, having employed 70 people to work on the scheme.