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22 October, 2020

Calls for Northern water body to work from the North

Townsville-based Senator, Susan McDonald has backed calls for the Canberra-based North Queensland Water Authority to be based in North Queensland.

Senator McDonald said she had been raising the issue since the authority was established and was surprised at revelations in Senate Estimates this week that the Authority had no full-time staff in the North.

“It is time that the North Queensland Water Authority be based in Townsville,” she said.

“If exciting and significant water projects like the Hughenden Irrigation Project, Big Rocks Weir, Hells gate and others are to progress in our lifetime the focus of all levels of government resources has to be brought to bear.”

Senator McDonald said the private and public sectors should be looking at the opportunities in the regions rather than the obstacles.

“Covid has changed the world that we live in. We can live and work remotely from government centres like Canberra and Brisbane,” she said.

“Most importantly, the permanent presence of the Authority in North Queensland would provide the project proponents with the support and guidance that will fast-track the development of these pieces of critical infrastructure.

“North Queensland has huge opportunities for agriculture, agricultural processing, mining and related businesses.  

“We are a great place for families to live with vibrant communities, and it is critical that government decentralises its roles to the parts of the country that are most relevant to the projects it is undertaking.

“I’m on record saying that I’m proud to serve in the most regionally focused government we’ve ever had, and I will keep pushing for regional water projects and regionally based staff.”

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