Lakeland irrigation project

The National Water Infrastructure Development Fund (NWIDF) will pay the first instalment of a $10 million investigation into the Lakeland irrigation project in Far North Queensland.

The federal grant, awarded to Regional Development Australia Far North, will look into the viability of irrigating up to 8,000 hectares in cropping and grazing land near Cooktown.

Queensland Minister for Natural Resources, Dr Anthony Lynham, said the proposed Lakeland project could bring dollars to the Far North by opening up land for more farming crops such as bananas, watermelons, other horticulture and cattle.

“This NWIDF funding allows Regional Development Australia Far North to continue its investigation into this opportunity.”

RDA Far North is scheduled to complete the business case and environmental investigations by late 2022.

Queensland Member for Cook, Cynthia Lui, said the State Government’s economic plan for Queensland, Unite and Recover, was focused on building the state’s traditional strengths, including agriculture, to create local jobs.

“We’re starting to deliver on that plan, with a $50 billion infrastructure guarantee to support communities and jobs across Queensland,” Ms Lui said.

In the Far North, that includes a $25 million support package for a bio-refinery to help underpin the long-term future of Mossman sugar mill.

“More water from this irrigation project would mean more agricultural production and more jobs for the far north,” she said.

“A robust assessment of the project will give everyone on the Cape a clear understanding of the project’s viability.”

Since 2017 the Queensland Government has committed $848 million in water infrastructure for Queensland, creating more than 1,600 regional jobs.

This includes:

  • $176 million for the creation of Rookwood Weir
  • $215 million for the Haughton Pipeline Duplication Project (Stage 1) in Townsville, and sealing a $24 million deal for the next stage of assessment for the proposed Hells Gates Dam
  • $28 million to modernise an existing open channel irrigation scheme on the Tablelands
  • $13.6 million to kick-start the new Emu Swamp Dam

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