Can a turtle stop the $130m weir, kill off new jobs promise?

JUST days after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull committed $130 million to see Rookwood Weir built, the State Government says it now needs more public consultation on a number of issues.

In a media statement, the government described the release of "new information" on the project as "another step forward" for the proposed Rookwood Weir and raising of Eden Bann Weir.

The key issues for further public are focused on the impact on a turtle species, the Great Barrier Reef and the potential benefit to agricultural development.

>>READ: How will Rookwood Weir boost the economy by $1 billion a year and provide 2100 jobs? 

The Prime Minister has said that the building of Rookwood Weir would inject an extra $1 billion into Central Queensland's economy each year and create 2100 new jobs through construction and increased agricultural production long-term.

James Cook University researcher Jason Schaffer is calling for greater protection of the white-throated snapping turtle (Elseya albagula).
James Cook University researcher Jason Schaffer is calling for greater protection of the white-throated snapping turtle (Elseya albagula). Stephen Zozaya

Mr Turnbull has committed millions in federal funding, but the state would still need to contribute to the project to see it become reality after two decades of discussion.

But that's something Mr Turnbull said he was "very confident" would happen.

Dr Lynham said on Saturday both Eden Bann and Rookwood were a significant investment in Central Queensland's future but still needed to pass the strictest criteria.

"Water infrastructure projects by their very scale and permanence require rigorous economic and environmental feasibility assessment prior to final approvals," he said.

"We will continue to work in close cooperation with each level of government to progress the business case through Building Queensland, so we can make an informed decision."

The information released by the government comes in addition to the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) which was open to public consultation from July to August last year.

Three further assessments were made to comply with new legislation or policy at a state and federal level.

These included an assessment of the effect construction would have on the white-throated snapping turtle and the Great Barrier Reef, as well as the potential benefit to agricultural development.

Recently declared critically endangered, the white-throated snapping turtle was one of six species known or likely to live within the footprint of the proposed Rookwood site.

In the original draft EIS, it was revealed a specially designed "turtle ramp" would be constructed at both Eden Bann and Rookwood to mitigate any potential impacts on turtle movement. 


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