Jul 2020

Hughenden Dam to create 490 permanent jobs, $70m in gross regional product annually

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The preliminary business case for the Hughenden Irrigation Project has found the dam would create 490 permanent jobs and nearly $73m in gross regional product annually, with the water used for high value crops like lemons and mangoes, as well as fodder crops for the livestock industry.

HIPCo Chairperson, Shane McCarthy said the project was looking very promising now the preliminary business case was completed, and the final business case had been given the go ahead by the Federal Government.

“The preliminary business case costed the 190,000 mega-litre dam at $500m, but we believe with further review we can get that figure down to $350m,” he said.

“The dam will harvest 109,000 mega-litres per year (less than 4% of the Flinders River flow), with 70,000 mega-litres available to irrigators at 75% reliability - creating around 70 farms.

“The HIPCo Board would like to thank the Deputy Prime Minister, Prime Minister, Flinders Shire Council and Bob and Robbie Katter for their support of the project.”

Kennedy MP, Bob Katter said it was frustrating having to work under modern Government guidelines and if it were up to him he’d have the bulldozers on the ground building the dam tomorrow.

“There has been nearly a Billion dollars spent on water assessments and reports in the last decade and there hasn’t been a shovel load of concrete put across a gutter,” he said.

“Under Bjelke-Petersen we were building a dam every year. Burdekin Falls was built and Emerald was built, but in the 30 years since then there hasn’t been a single dam built in north Queensland.

They’ve built every dam they can in the south east corner, but they refuse to build our shovel ready projects like Hughenden and Hells Gates.”

Mr Katter stressed that the water entitlements and irrigation land for Hughenden would not be sold off in a golden handshake to the ‘Cotton Kings’, but would go under a ballot system to the aspirational class like miners and those doing ‘hard yakka jobs’ – on the condition that they live on the property.

“This dam signals a return to the good old days of the Country party governments before the Pygmies and Lily-pad Lefties took over,” he said.

KAP Leader, Robbie Katter said there is a lot of talk about developing dams as part of securing our economic future, and the Hughenden Irrigation Project is without a doubt the most advanced and practical water project in the North.

“The KAP has had our shoulder at the wheel on this from the start and getting this dam built will form a large part of what we will offer the public as our key policies leading into the State Election,” he said.

“The State Government needs to decide whether they want to continue constraining progress on this project, or help us get it done. We are not even asking for money, all we need is their co—operation and effort in getting the necessary approvals underway without the interference of red and green tape.

“HIPCO will only draw on a measly 4 per cent of the water that flows into the Flinders River, and the potential for economic and social growth is enormous.”

HIPCo Preliminary Business Case, Key Facts:
Dam Size: 190,000 mega litres
Catchment Area: 7,652 sq km
Annual Harvest: 109,000 mega litres to supply 70,000 mega litres for irrigation
Below 4% of the Flinders River flow taken out (Flinders only 4% of the rivers in the Gulf)
- 30,000 mega litres for high value crops lemon, mangoes (94% reliability)
- 40,000 mega litres for fodder crops (70% reliability)
- 75% reliability overall
- 8,000 hectares of irrigation
Gross Regional Product: $72.8m
Jobs: 490

Contact Details

P: (07) 4061 6066
F: (07) 4061 6566
Visit: Cnr Edith and Owen St
Post: PO Box 1638
Innisfail, Qld 4860

Mount Isa
P: (07) 4743 3534
F: (07) 4743 0189
Visit: 42-44 Simpson St
Post: PO Box 2130
Mount Isa, Qld 4825

(when Parliament is sitting)
P: (02) 6277 4978
F: (02) 6277 8558

Local Call within the electorate
P: 1300 301 942

Email: Bob.Katter.MP@aph.gov.au