Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has announced $10m to take the Lakeland Irrigation Area Project one step closer to fruition.
A business case for the proposed Lakeland Irrigation Scheme will soon begin after the federal and Queensland governments both signed a formal project agreement.
“The proposed scheme has the potential to expand irrigated agriculture by around 8000 hectares,” Mr McCormack said.
The proposed 195GL dam on the Palmer River will irrigate up to 10,000 ha in the Lakeland basin and could provide over 1,000 jobs and possibly generate over $1b a year to the northern economy.
Regional Development Australia (RDA) Tropical North Chair David Kempton welcomed the Deputy Prime Minister’s announcement.
“This is the most exciting infrastructure project to come out of our region in decades and arose from a discussion with growers years ago about the potential for Lakeland if there was improved water security.” Mr Kempton said
“The Palmer River Dam, an RDA TN initiative, ticks all the boxes economically and environmentally with enormous opportunity for the community including many Indigenous groups.”
Queensland Senator Susan McDonald said the business case was a major step for the project, delivering the final engineering and scoping works on this region-defining project.
“I know just how vital water is for all our farmers and the whole community in Lakeland, which has long established itself as home to a vibrant agricultural precinct,” Senator McDonald said.
Regional Development Australia Tropical North (RDA) Board member and FNQ Growers Chair, Joe Moro is also keen to see the project progress “The Lakeland Irrigation Scheme is very important for the long-term capacity of the region to continue to grow as a food bowl for Australia and parts of the world”.
“It will provide farmers in the region the opportunity to consolidate, expand and diversify their businesses; providing resilience against the economic downturns that can occur with individual commodities,” Joe said.
Cook Shire Mayor, Peter Scott is delighted with the announcement. ” I want to pay tribute to the local Lakeland growers and RDA Tropical North for the initiative they have shown in getting this project underway,” he said.