CENTRAL Queensland's proposed $2.9 billion Urannah Dam declared a coordinated project by Queensland's Coordinator-General.
The 1.5 million megalitre dam project will now go through an impact assessment process to determine any significant environmental, social, cultural and economic impacts it may have on the region.
The project also includes a water pipeline network and an irrigated precinct for high value agriculture. There is also a pumped hydro-electricity power scheme in the upper Broken River Valley, north west of Mackay.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the project had the potential to create up to 1200 full-time equivalent jobs during construction and 675 full-time jobs once operations have commenced.
"My government is committed to supporting Queensland's economy by supporting our key regional sectors, including agriculture," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"If we're backing industry and helping facilitate big projects, we're putting more Queenslanders into jobs."
Member for Mackay and Assistant Minister for State Development, Julieanne Gilbert, said the proponent, Bowen River Utilities, was preparing a comprehensive environmental impact statement.
"The ongoing rigorous assessment will include extensive community consultation, so locals can help shape the requirements of the EIS," Ms Gilbert said.
Bowen River Utilities managing director John Cotter said the coordinated project status reinforced the strategic significance of the project.
"With Queensland facing some tough times ahead, this project is a glimmer of hope for the Mackay, Whitsunday and Isaac regions which will deliver broad ranging economic benefits," Mr Cotter said.
"This project, originally a vision set by our partners, the Bowen Collinsville Enterprise, will be a game changer for the region.
"It doesn't just deliver water security, but invests in agriculture and energy to drive economic benefits in the regions at a time when they need it the most."
Mr Cotter said the declaration from the Queensland Government would help streamline the process.
"The scheme is the perfect example of the new world thinking that must be used to ensure water projects get beyond the feasibility stage, especially in these incredibly tough economic times," Mr Cotter said.
"Now, more than ever, we know how important projects like this are for North Queensland and our project team is working around the clock to ensure we work through our environmental approvals as efficiently as possible so that we can drive regional economic growth and deliver jobs."
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said the LNP had backed Urannah Dam since day one because water security and jobs were crucial to Central Queensland.
"While we welcome this announcement, the LNP wants to see Labor match our funding commitment to get Urannah Dam shovel-ready," Ms Frecklington said.
"Queenslanders need to see more than announcements about dam studies.
"We need to see a commitment to getting more dams built.
"That's why the LNP is backing Urannah and four other major dam projects in regional Queensland, including the New Bradfield Scheme."
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