McCormack, Katter dispute Hell's Gates Dam
Hundreds of thousands of hectares of irrigation land in Queensland will be wasted unless the federal government commits to a 395 metre wall for the Hell's Gates Dam, independent MP Bob Katter says.
The Hell's Gates Dam is a $5.35 billion irrigated agricultural and power project on the upper Burdekin River.
It is believed to have the potential to redefine northern Queensland's agriculture sector and underpin long term export market growth and investment.
As part of the Bradfield Scheme, which was originally designed to drought-proof much of western Queensland and expanses of South Australia, stage one of the Hell's Gate Dam proposes a diversion of water down a 150 kilometre channel to an area southwest of Charters Towers.
Mr Katter believes if the dam wall isn't erected 395 metres high, 350,000 hectares of land for irrigation will be wasted.
"He (the deputy PM) has got a scheme that's going to irrigate 50,000 acres of land and I'll tell you who will own that land, it will be the cotton kings of NSW who bank roll his political party," the maverick MP said.
"I'm calling him out because I have been nice long enough."
Mr Katter is adamant the stated specifications of the Hell's Gates project are imperative to sustainable irrigation for the region.
"The Australian people know that this is a grand scheme to get the water to the other side of the Great Dividing Range where it can be used," he said.
"It produces all of North Queensland electricity, it produces seven per cent of Australia's petrol, it produces 13 per cent of Australia's beef production, and it produces one and a half per cent of Australia's timber, each of those secondary industries."
When asked about the height stipulations for Hell's Gates, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said it was important to follow the directions of experts.
"That's why we do a business case, that's why we do the geotechnics, that's why we get the world's experts and engineers in to see what we can do," he said.
"When we do build it, and we will, we want to make sure that it's at the right capacity to enhance that agriculture."
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