Palaszczuk plots path for own Bradfield Scheme

 

Annastacia Palaszczuk has revealed her government is working on a scoping study for her version of the transformative new Bradfield Scheme, which would funnel rivers to fertile land and create an agricultural boom for the state.

The news potentially places the Premier in a position to directly take on Deb Frecklington in the must-win regions on the drought-busting project at the October election.

The Opposition Leader has already made building a paired-back version of the 1930s water irrigation project a key plank of her election pitch.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk Picture: NCA NewsWire/Dan Peled
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk Picture: NCA NewsWire/Dan Peled

Ms Palaszczuk spoke of her interest in discussing a scaled-down version of the scheme with Prime Minister Scott Morrison last November - the same week Ms Frecklington announced her plan - but has been quiet on the idea ever since.

The Premier yesterday didn't say whether she had yet raised the project with the PM, despite being asked, but revealed some work was being done.

"We're doing the scoping studies at the moment for our version and we'll release those when we can," she said.

Ms Frecklington had committed to the ambitious multibillion-dollar water scheme that could droughtproof parched western Queensland, generate power through hydro-electricity and open up a new food bowl, announcing $20 million for a CSIRO planning study last year.

Artist’s impression of the LNP’s new Bradfield Scheme
Artist’s impression of the LNP’s new Bradfield Scheme

Doubling the height of the Hell's Gate Dam would be the start of her project to create the largest dam in Queensland.

Water from the South Johnstone, Tully, Herbert and Burdekin rivers would be taken in and gravity-fed tunnels would allow water to be moved while generating up to 2000 megawatts of green energy, according to the LNP.

Treasurer Cameron Dick last week attacked the LNP over its vision in parliament, calling it the "new, old, fake Bradfield scheme", and criticising the party for its "unfunded expenditure".

The original Bradfield scheme was first mooted by prominent engineer John Bradfield in the 1930s but was abandoned before it could get off the ground.

The Burdekin River. Picture: Matt Taylor
The Burdekin River. Picture: Matt Taylor

It involved diverting water from the upper Tully, Herbert and Burdekin Rivers inland using tunnels, dams and pumps to create a huge irrigation area in central Queensland.

Politicians from Bob Katter to Barnaby Joyce, Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Beattie have tried to revive it in the decades since.

Originally published as Palaszczuk plots path for own Bradfield Scheme



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