May 10, 2022


May 10, 2022

KAP Leader and Member for Traeger Robbie Katter says the long-awaited opening of the embattled Charleston Dam and the expansion of the Terrestrial Centre will deliver economic and cultural boosts to the Etheridge Shire.


Mr Katter attended the grand opening of the Charleston Dam near Forsayth and the launch of the Unearth Etheridge Exhibit last Friday, after years of lobbying to support the dam, which suffered an explosive setback when major contractor LDI went bust in 2020, owing more than 50 subcontractors and creditors approximately $2.8 million.


Late last year, Mr Katter called on the State Government for a cash injection to finalise the dam, which had received $10 million in federal funding in 2016 and had been under construction for the past two years. However, it was the Federal Government which announced a further $3 million to complete the $20.7 million project; the project was jointly funded by the Federal Government and Etheridge Shire Council, which contributed $13 million and $7.7 million respectively.


The 8.8 GL Charleston Dam on the Delaney River will provide a sustainable water supply and recreational use to Forsayth and additional supply to Georgetown, and open up development opportunities for the region.


Mr Katter said Etheridge Shire Council had been working on a solution to its water shortage since 2012, plagued by issues with high iron and manganese in the raw water supply, and exacerbated by drought in recent years.


In 2014, Forsayth was left without water due to drought, forcing heavy water restrictions and demand for water to be carted to the water treatment plant, at major cost to Council.


“Charleston Dam will provide important infrastructure, enhance productivity and stimulate growth opportunities both in the region and further afield through North Queensland,” Mr Katter said, adding that it would encourage business opportunities including lifestyle enhancement.


“I’ve supported Etheridge Shire Council in securing funds for the dam, worked to help ensure an additional $3 million in federal funding was allocated directly to the project, and backed local tradespeople caught up in LDI’s liquidation debacle in recovering their unpaid works.”


Mr Katter also welcomed the opening of the Unearth Etheridge Exhibit in Georgetown, stage one of the Terrestrial Centre revamp, funded by Etheridge Shire Council and the State Government.


The exhibit showcases the region’s history through photos and displays, and houses the Ted Elliott Mineral Collection with more than 4,500 specimens.


“Exhibits such as these lend major cultural value to our region and showcase the true and real beauty of our backyard,” Mr Katter said.