Nats go to water as campaign kicks off in QLD battleground

Nats go to water as campaign kicks off in QLD battleground


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Dawson MP George Christensen, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, and Nationals Leader Michael McCormack at Kinchent Dam announcing $10m funding for a new dam in North Queensland.

Dawson MP George Christensen, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, and Nationals Leader Michael McCormack at Kinchent Dam announcing $10m funding for a new dam in North Queensland.

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Criticism that a $10m Urannah study announcement fails to guarantee the dam will be built

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Playing to their tried and true election strategy, the Nationals kicked off their election campaign announcing a study on a potential new dam between Rockhampton and Mackay in North Queensland.

Urannah joins a growing list of potential dam projects in Queensland, which has four marginal electorates north of Mackay. The state is a crucial battleground for the Coalition federal election campaign.

Deputy Prime Minister and Nats Michael McCormack joined Michelle Landry in her marginal Capricornia electorate to reveal the $10 million investment in a business case and pre-construction works, as well as neighbouring MP Dawson George Christensen who's electorate would share in the project benefits.

Mr McCormack said it was "sensational" to announce funding for a project that would benefit three drivers of the local economy.

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"It's going to be good for the resources sector, the coal-mining sector, and it's also going to be good for agriculture," Mr McCormack said.

Ms Landry said Queensland Labor were holding up funding to another project in her electorate, Rookwood Weir, to which the federal government has pledged $130m.

"These water projects are so important, for the future development of this state and this nation. And we will continue to fight for these water programs," Ms Landry said.

The funding is drawn from the $1.3 billion National Water Infrastructure Fund, which has about $700m in uncommitted funds.

It's set to get a workout as the Nats pump out dam, pipeline and other local funding ahead of the May 18 poll.

The Coalition set up the fund to partner with state governments on water infrastructure projects.

The Coalition is investing up to $54m for the first stage of the Hells Gate Dam on the Upper Burdekin River and up to $180m for the Hughenden Irrigation Scheme on the Flinders River.

Independent MP for the state seat of Whitsunday Jason Costigan, who was dumped by the Liberal National Party over harassment allegations earlier this year, said the $10m commitment was "nowhere near good enough".

"If they come to town and announced a big chunk of cash to do the heavy lifting in building the damn thing I would have been first to offer to shake their hand," Mr Costigan said.

"But it's like Urannah is in no-man's land between Rockhampton and Mackay, but it's brought out at every election with more promises. Sorry George and Michelle, it's not good enough."

The story Nats go to water as campaign kicks off in QLD battleground first appeared on Farm Online.

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