To be presented by Regional Development Australia FNQ & TS Chair, David Kempton

The Lakeland Irrigation Area was established over 70 years ago and boasts deep basalt soils growing a variety of crops.  In 2016 the Federal Minister Matt Canavan allocated $825,000 from the NWIDF to CYSF to undertake an investigation into a viable water storage facility for the area to alleviate a chronic water availability and security issue.

The Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy has undertaken a comprehensive assessment and identified soil and crop suitability. The favourable findings will be released with the report to be presented by Regional Development Australia FNQ & TS Chair, Mr David Kempton.  Of the four options considered, in the comprehensive business case, the Palmer River that flows west into the Mitchell river catchment is the most viable site to improve water volume and reliability.  “When constructed, the dam will store 200,000ML and guarantee 80,000ML pa yield for up to 3 years, irrigating 8,000 ha of arable land in the Lakeland agricultural precinct,” said Mr Kempton.

Water will be pumped over the Byerstown Range, through a hydro generator and gravity fed to the irrigation area.   “A significant impact will be the creation of over 1000 construction jobs and 1,200 extra regional jobs to complete the project,” Mr Kempton said, ”This will provide an economic and social boost to the towns of Lakeland and Cooktown and the wider region.”

Indigenous industries including agriculture, grazing and tourism will flourish under the scheme. “This scheme will also attract new growers to the region and facilitate best-practice agriculture to further enhance this unique environment,” Mr Kempton said.

The water supply facility will be a Federal/State initiative with a local management board to ensure equity in water allocation and competitive pricing.

The project is estimated to cost $400m including preliminaries and approvals.  This exciting project with support from the Federal and State Governments and Local Authorities could be completed as soon as 5-7 years.

Regional Development Australia FNQ&TS welcomes and invites the general public and all interested parties to hear first-hand, the report findings on Wednesday, 10th April at the Lakeland Community Hall.  The meeting will commence at 1pm.


For further information or details regarding this Media Release or to arrange an interview, please contact the following:-

Regional Development Australia FNQ&TS

Ph:  07 4041 1729



Danielle Carey

Chief Executive Officer

Regional Development Australia FNQ&TS

Ph 0409 260 978