Major energy and water projects key to Mount Isa to Townsville corridor plan

Nov 30, 2021

Major energy and water projects key to Mount Isa to Townsville corridor plan

Nov 30, 2021

KENNEDY MP, Bob Katter, says the Hughenden Irrigation Project (HIPCo), Hells Gates Dam (Revised Bradfield Scheme), and the Copperstring transmission line must be the cornerstone of a masterplan for the Townsville to Mount Isa region, which is being drawn up by the Northern Australia Minister.[1]

The Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) MP said the Minister would fail miserably in his duty if he doesn’t address the issues with Hells Gates Dam and ensure that the water is sent west.

“If Hells Gates Dam is built to 320 metres elevation and the water is used along the Burdekin River for a small farming operation, then the project will help nobody,” Mr Katter said.

“Townsville Enterprise (TEL) and SMEC are talking about growing limes and avocadoes along the Burdekin, well they haven’t done their homework because there is already a massive oversupply of the production of these crops. All they will do is drop the price further and collapse the industry. There will be all out warfare with the lime and avocado farmers on the Atherton Tablelands, and with the cattlemen along the Burdekin River who don’t want their land resumed.

“The Water Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce has said the water will go out west. The dam must be built to 390m elevation for this to happen. All the relevant Federal Government Ministers must take control of SMEC and TEL and ensure that the water does go out west. Out west, the water can be used properly on the rolling black soils. We are talking about new industries, $10b in annual production, and 100,000 jobs.”

Mr Katter said Copperstring will mean huge electricity production, bringing online a giant windfarm north of Hughenden, and the North-West-Minerals Province will no longer be strangled by an energy monopoly.

“For the North-West-Minerals Province to properly take off, and the creation of new mines, we need power and water,” Mr Katter said.

“There are two dams near Mount Isa, so we are alright for that, but what we have not got is competitively priced electricity. It is my considered opinion that there is $10b of extra earnings in the North-West-Minerals Province if the Copperstring transmission line goes in connecting us to the national grid.”

Finally, Mr Katter said the Hughenden Dam and Irrigation Project (HIPCo) is extremely important as it will irrigate the best natural grasslands in Australia.

“You can farm for seven years and not use fertiliser,” he said.

“That magnificent asset, the 12 million hectares called the Mid-West Plains, is growing dirty, filthy Prickly Acacia weed. It’s wiping out native flora and fauna. Irrigated farming will reverse that.

“Let me quote former Prime Minister, Black-Jack (John) McEwen, ‘If we do not populate this great treasurer which is Australia, then I fear it will be taken from us.’ Hughenden is the battle ground as to whether we occupy the great empty spaces of Australia or whether we don’t. This is where our nation goes forward or dies.

“The irrigation scheme will grow the town’s population to 10,000 people with 150 owner-operator-occupier farms. Hughenden will follow the Mareeba, Emerald and Griffith irrigation models which saw ordinary people take up the land, not the Cotton Kings and the Grain Barons who fly-in and out of towns in their private jets.”