Capricornia MP Michelle Landry with Dawson MP George Christensen and Bowen River Utilities CEO John Cotter touring Collinsville near the Urannah Dam site.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry with Dawson MP George Christensen and Bowen River Utilities CEO John Cotter touring Collinsville near the Urannah Dam site.

Revealed: Next step for game-changing Urannah Dam project

Progress is being made on the game-changing Urannah Dam project after comments on the draft terms of reference for an environmental-impact statement closed late last month.

The State Government's co-ordinator-general will now finalise this once all public and agency comments have been considered.

A spokesman for the office of the co-ordinator-general said the proponent, Bowen River Utilities, would then have 18 months to prepare an environmental impact statement which satisfactorily addressed the terms of reference.

"Many of the comments received from the public were general project comments rather than suggestions about how the terms of reference might be amended to improve the outcomes of the EIS process," he said.

Earlier this year, Dawson MP George Christensen named securing funding for Urannah Dam as one of his major priorities.

"I'm going to be pushing for a big tranche of funding to come through out of the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund," Mr Christensen said.

"I think if we saw somewhere around $150 million earmarked for that dam, we would see things go ahead before the year is out."

The project has the potential to create up to 1200 full-time equivalent jobs during construction and 675 full-time jobs once operational.

It would deliver a new dam on Broken River, with a capacity of up to 1.5 million megalitres, as well as a water pipeline network and an irrigated precinct for high value agriculture.

The water project would also include a pumped hydro-electricity power scheme in the upper Broken River Valley, north west of Mackay.

Urannah Creek, site of the proposed Urannah Dam, west of Mackay.
Urannah Creek, site of the proposed Urannah Dam, west of Mackay.

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But Mackay Conservation Group co-ordinator Peter McCallum has labelled the dam as "increasingly controversial, with farmers, scientists and environmentalists raising serious concerns about the consequences of reducing the flow of water in Australia's second largest river basin".

"The Urannah Dam, west of Mackay, has been put forward at least 19 times since the early 1960s but has never been supported by a sound economic case," Mr McCallum said.

"Mackay Conservation Group released a reassessment of the preliminary business case for the Urannah Dam, which shows that the dam will generate as little as 26 cents for every dollar it costs."

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