We are thrilled to receive the news that a local North Queensland consortia, led by Townsville Enterprise, has been selected to deliver the Hells Gates Dam Business Case and establishment of the Big Rocks Weir.
This is a significant decision by the Morrison Government and we applaud the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack for putting local firms and local jobs first in the decision.
Townsville Enterprise oversaw the initial work of delivering the Feasibility Study, along with SMEC, Premise, AEC, and Brazier & Motti, and will lead the process to deliver a truly independent business case for the Hells Gates Project.
This is a nation building project that comes at exactly the right time as Townsville and the North Queensland region recover from the recent floods - guaranteeing new work for locals when they need that economic certainty. Hells Gates is a project that exists beyond the electoral cycles. It is a once in a generation project that complements the Burdekin scheme 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.
In November 2018, we welcomed Prime Minister Morrison's commitment to keep the ball rolling with a $54M commitment towards Phase 1 of the project after the Feasibility Study identified the $5.35 billion project on the upper Burdekin River was viable. This commitment included $24M to undertake the Business Case for the Hells Gates Dam Irrigation Scheme, and a further $30M committed towards the establishment 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.
Townsville Enterprise managed the Feasibility Study process and with our Council partners in Townsville, Charters Towers, Burdekin, Hinchinbrook and Palm Island we have worked together to build the case for this outcome. Today that work has been rewarded and we applaud the Federal Government for its commitment to a project that we believe can fundamentally transform the economics of our region into the future.
We acknowledge Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Minister for Northern Australia Senator Matt Canavan, Senator Ian Macdonald, Member for Dawson George Christensen and Phillip Thompson for their commitment to delivering locals jobs to the north.
We look forward to working through the details of this announcement with the Government and immediately getting on with the job of delivering this next phase.