It's pleasing that Townsville Enterprise has formally received the funding agreement from the State Government unlocking the funds committed by the Federal Government to commence the Hells Gates Dam Business Case and establishment of Big Rocks Weir Stage 1.
In November 2018, the Morrison Government committed $54M towards Phase 1 of the Project in agreement with the Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter MP, which included $30M for construction of the first stage of Big Rocks Weir at Charters Towers – a component of the Hells Gate Project that has been championed strongly by Charters Towers Mayor, Liz Schmidt. The remaining $24M is for engineering, enhanced economic modelling works, environmental surety and satisfaction of cultural heritage interests quantifying the Hells Gates Dam program.
Today's announcement signals the start of a once in a generation project that along with local stakeholders, including Charters Towers Shire Council, landholders, and our political representatives, Townsville Enterprise has been a part of driving for more than five years.
Hells Gates is a project that exists beyond the electoral cycles. Complementing the Burdekin scheme, it would be one of the largest dams in the world, and offers the potential for major new agricultural opportunities to open up in our region and export high value crops into emerging markets into the Asia-Pacific.
The signing of this agreement is great news for the region that we are now able to get on with the job with boots on the ground and the reality of delivering the first stage of the project (Big Rocks Weir) within 12 months. Along with our consortium of local businesses engaged on this project, we have aggressive milestones and a key criteria of delivering jobs, water security, and opening untapped agricultural opportunities for North Queensland.
This project is real. It is more than just a 'pie in the sky' pipe-dream or a study that remains a dormant dust collector on a shelf. The project has been proven feasible and we are committed to delivering this next phase. Work has immediately commenced today and we and our consortium of businesses look forward to updating you as key project milestones are met.