The proposed $2.9 billion Urannah dam project in Central Queensland has received a funding boost from the Federal Government, with the Australian Government now committing to fully fund the $22.65 million business case and approvals project.
The proposed hydro-electric dam is located in the Broken River Valley, 80 kilometres west of Mackay, and will provide water storage capacity of up to 970,000 megalitres (nearly a trillion litres) for irrigation.
Starting in May last year, the project went through an impact assessment process by the Queensland Government to determine significant environmental, social, cultural and economic impacts it may have on the region. In September, the project was deemed a ‘controlled action’ by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, meaning it could progress into next stage for environmental assessment and approval under the EPBC Act.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said detailed business cases were fundamental in supporting future investment decisions for the delivery of new water infrastructure projects.
“This project is a great example of the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government’s commitment to investing in the long-term planning of future water infrastructure, through the $3.5 billion National Water Grid Fund,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said the extra funding would enable vital planning and approvals work and geotechnical studies to be carried out on the project.
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said the Urannah Dam project would provide a secure and affordable water supply for agriculture, mining, industrial and urban use.
“This is a transformative project for the region which stands to open up 20,000 hectares of prime agricultural land and support more than 1,800 jobs,” Mr Christensen said.
The water distribution network includes in-stream distribution in the Bowen and Broken Rivers to the Bowen River Weir, a new 66-kilometre pipeline north to the Peter Faust Dam, a new 17-kilometre pipeline south east to the Eungella Dam and a 150-kilometre pipeline south to Moranbah. The irrigation precinct is located around 20-30 kilometres south and southwest of Collinsville.
Senator for Queensland Matt Canavan said that this dam could help provide 30 active projects and 71 new local projects with the water to become viable, and will help bring important investment to the communities of Central and North Queensland.
“Fully funding the Urannah Dam business case is vitally important to the growth of Central and North Queensland, and only the LNP is delivering on the important infrastructure to support new industries and bring jobs to the region,” Senator Canavan said.
The business case and approvals project is expected to be completed in mid-2022. The Australian Government also previously committed $3 million to fund a feasibility study for the project.