Queensland’s Coordinator-General has declared the proposed $2.9 billion Urannah Dam a coordinated project, which has the potential to create up to 1200 construction jobs.
A coordinated project is a project that has complex approval requirements involving local, state and federal governments, significant environmental effects, has strategic significance to the locality, region or state or has significant infrastructure requirements.
The Urannah Dam project will now need to go through an impact assessment project to determine any significant environmental, social, cultural and economic impacts it may have on the region.
The proposed project, which includes a new dam on the Broken River, would have a capacity up to 1.5 million megalitres, as well as a water pipeline network and an irrigated precinct for high value agriculture.
It would also feature a pumped hydro-electricity power scheme in the upper Broken River Valley, north west of Mackay.
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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the project has the potential to create up to 1200 full-time equivalent jobs during construction and 675 full-time jobs once operations have commenced.
“Jobs and water security are two of the most important things for Queensland right now,” she said.
“Progressing projects like this will help to secure our state’s future. My government is committed to supporting Queensland’s economy by supporting our key regional sectors, including agriculture.
“If we’re backing industry and helping facilitate big projects, we’re putting more Queenslanders into jobs.”
Member for Mackay and State Development Assistant Minister Julieanne Gilbert said the proponent, Bowen River Utilities, will now begin preparing a comprehensive environmental impact statement (EIS).
“This project potentially means water security and jobs for our part of Queensland,” Gilbert said.
“The ongoing rigorous assessment will include extensive community consultation, so locals can help shape the requirements of the EIS.”
State Development Minister Cameron Dick said the government will continue investigating proposals for new water infrastructure for central and northern Queensland.
“If there’s a big job-creating project proposed for Queensland that has merit, we’ll look at it,” Dick said.
“These assessments are extremely thorough, and through the independent Office of the Coordinator-General we look to identify the most optimal projects our regions.”
Mines and Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said the Queensland Government has a strong record when it comes to water infrastructure investment.
“We gave the green light for the next stage of assessment for Urannah Dam in December 2019, and since 2017 we’ve invested $848 million in water infrastructure for Queensland, creating more than regional 1600 jobs,” Lynham said.