Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Michael McCormack MP, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Senator the Hon Matt Canavan, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia and Member for Leichhardt, Hon Warren Entsch MP today announced $10M in funding to progress the Lakeland Irrigation Scheme business case and advance the project to a shovel-ready stage.
This follows the release of the Lakeland Irrigation Area Strategic Business Report earlier this month by RDA Chair, David Kempton. The report, funded under the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund (NWIDF), favoured building a 200,000 ml dam on the Palmer River. 

“The RDA has taken very much a hands-on approach with this project to ensure not only that the dam’s full economic potential is realised but that the environmental social and cultural outcomes are fully canvassed and implemented,” said RDA FNQ&TS Chair, David Kempton. 

When complete, the project will yield 80,000 ML of water per year for an agricultural precinct larger than the Ord River Scheme (14,000 ha). “This will resolve the water security problem that has inhibited the expansion of Lakeland for decades,” said David Kempton.

“This facility will open up employment, business opportunity and substantial benefit to indigenous cattle producers in the region and provide substantial economic, social and cultural outcomes and opportunities including 1200 FTE construction jobs and 1144 FTE long term employment positions.”

The Lakeland Irrigation Scheme supplements existing water resources and will incorporate a hydro-electric scheme providing all required energy and a return on investment. 

The Palmer River flows to the west and does not impact the Great Barrier Reef reducing the environmental impact.