Around 50 people from Cook Shire and beyond attended RDA FNQ&TS’ public release of the Lakeland Irrigation Area Strategic Business Report held at the Lakeland Community Hall on Wednesday 10 April.

The report is now available on the RDA FNQ&TS website.

Funding was provided by the Australian Government under the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund (NWIDF) to undertake a feasibility study to investigate new water storage to expanded irrigated agriculture.

Four options were considered to improve the water volume and reliability for an expanded irrigable area. The Palmer River was identified as the most favourable site. The Palmer River, home of the 1860’s gold rush, flows to the west into the Mitchell River catchment.

Water will be pumped over the Byerstown Range, through a hydro generator and gravity fed to the irrigation area.

The Lakeland Irrigation area was established over 70 years ago. It boasts deep basalt soils growing a variety of crops. Water availability and security is the major inhibitor to the success and expansion of agriculture in the region.

The Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy has undertaken a comprehensive assessment and identified soil and crop suitability. “The findings are favourable and contained in the report,” said RDA FNQ&TS Chair, David Kempton.

“The project, when complete will provide substantial economic, social and cultural outcomes and opportunities for the region. The facility, when complete will open up employment and business opportunity and substantial benefit to indigenous cattle producers in the region”.

The water supply facility would potentially be owned by the State of Queensland and managed by a local board of growers. The board would comprise a company limited by guarantee with membership referable to allocation.

The project is estimated to cost $400m including preliminaries and approvals and could be competed in 5-7 years. The final package will depend upon Federal / State commitment and support.

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

David Kempton, Chair RDA FNQ&TS or Ph 0407 964 332.

DOWNLOAD Lakeland Irrigation Area Report