Major Irrigated Agricultural Development Project a big boost for North West

24 August 2018

Queensland’s independent Coordinator-General has declared Flinders Shire Council’s proposed 918-hectare irrigated agricultural development a coordinated project, to create jobs and drive sustainable economic activity in the region.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said if approved, the proposed 15 Mile Irrigated Agricultural Development Project on the banks of the Flinders River near Hughenden would create an initial 60-hectares of irrigated land for table grapes and 60-hectares of citrus crops for market.

“Declaring this project a coordinated project will help streamline approvals and fast-track delivery of this regionally significant project,” he said.

“A coordinated project approach also means that all the potential impacts and benefits of the project are considered in an integrated and comprehensive manner.

“This project will make a significant contribution to the regional economy, requiring an investment of up to $47 million at full development”. 

Mr Dick said council is currently working with a number of private investors, with a few already committed, to realise the full potential of the development.

“If approved, Flinders Shire Council would be a step closer to creating five full-time jobs a year during the construction and establishment phase,” he said.

“Once fully operational the initial 120-hectare development will generate 72 full-time jobs. 

“It’s no secret that times have been tough with the region experiencing negative population growth for the past 10 years.”

Flinders Shire Council Mayor Cr Jane McNamara welcomed the declaration saying this regionally significant project will increase agriculture production along the Flinders River.

“Council revitalised this project as we could see the benefits it will bring to the region and have been progressively engaging with private investors to bring it to fruition,” Cr McNamara said.

“We look forward to working with the State Government, and our private investors,  on this project that we believe can be replicated across Queensland.”

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the project could provide numerous flow-on employment and economic benefits for the Flinders community. 

“There is great untapped agricultural potential in Hughenden; we want to unlock those opportunities to diversify and build greater economic depth in the region,” Mr Furner said.

“The agriculture and horticulture industries make a fundamental contribution to the local economy and often rely on seasonal workers, in everything from picking fruit to manning the bar at the local pub.”

The project also includes a co‐use cooling, packaging and logistics facility, staff amenities and machinery and chemical storage sheds. 

Flinders Shire Council will now undertake an impact assessment report (IAR) to investigate the potential impacts of the project including impacts on the project’s environmental values.

This project progresses the Palaszczuk Government’s plan for the economic development of north-west Queensland by diversifying the regional economy and is consistent with Advancing North Queensland: Investing in the future of the north.

For more information visit www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/15mile 

Source: Queensland Government media statements