The first concrete pours have commenced for the foundations of the Rookwood Weir, Queensland’s largest water infrastructure project.
It marks a major construction milestone for the $367.2 million project, which aims to unlock thousands of megalitres of water to increase waster security, expand irrigated agricultural production and drive new employment and economic opportunities across Central Queensland.
Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Barnaby Joyce said Rookwood Weir will transform the entire region, drive the expansion of irrigated agricultural production, and open new business opportunities which will boost the local economy.
“The best thing we can do for this country is ensure a secure future for water, our farmers and the regional communities that continue to drive our economic recovery,” Joyce said.
“That is why we are investing $3.5 billion through the National Water Grid Fund – to improve water security while promoting local economic activity and job creation along the way.”
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Queensland Water Minister Glenn Butcher said the project is already delivering benefits across the region.
“It is great to see significant progress on this landmark project that will boost employment opportunities and economic growth across Central Queensland,” Butcher said.
“We currently have 196 workers onsite to deliver the weir, 128 of which are Central Queenslanders, with 14 apprentices and trainees.
“Additionally, 95 per cent of project costs will be spent in Queensland.”
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said concrete is now being produced at the onsite batch plant and is being used for the weir’s spillway-monoliths and left abutment.
“This is an important step towards delivering the weir and making more water available to unlock the economic potential of the region,” O’Dowd said.
State Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said the project team was working hard to keep to the construction timeline following a two-week shutdown last month after a contractor that visited the site tested positive for COVID-19.
“Work is back in full swing on this incredibly important local project and it’s a testament to the commitment of everyone that big strides are being made despite activities being stopped while workers quarantined,” O’Rourke said.
“This was made possible by the strict safety controls in place onsite that were adhered to by our workforce and overseen by Queensland Health.”
Sunwater Chief Executive Officer Glenn Stockton said the pours take place at night for temperature control in mass concrete.
“The concrete pours are undertaken in a continuous operation over an 11-hour night shift for about 12 months and we will see the structure take shape over that time.”
“A range of other works for the project were also significantly advanced, including having moved 800,000 m3 of earthworks, while a coffer dam, which will help divert river flows, and a temporary river crossing are close to completion,” he said.
“All of these activities will help enable works to continue when the river height rises with the approaching wet season.”