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The $60 million Big Rocks Weir project is a step closer with the release of the terms of reference for the project’s environmental impact statement.

Big Rocks Weir is one of three water infrastructure projects in the broader Burdekin Catchment currently undergoing full EIS assessment processes as coordinated projects.

Two others are the proposed raising of the Burdekin Falls Dam wall, declared a coordinated project in July 2020, and the proposed Urannah Project, declared in May 2020.

Queensland Government supported ongoing investigations into the construction of the proposed 10,000 megalitre weir, planned for the Burdekin River, 26km north of Charters Towers, said Water Minister Glenn Butcher.

“The release of the terms of reference (TOR) for the project’s EIS now put the Charters Towers Regional Council – as the proponent – in a position to finalise details of the project,” Mr Butcher said.

“The TOR will ensure potential impacts on the natural, social and economic environment are appropriately considered."

This consideration included comments from Queenslanders who had their say during a four-week notification period on what should be included, Mr Butcher said.

“Comments were received from 21 individuals, groups, government agencies and councils,” he said.

“As the project proponent, Charters Towers Regional Council will be required to address the issues raised when preparing the draft EIS for the project.

“That draft EIS will also be open for public submissions.”

The project had the potential to drive investment in the region and create local jobs, Mr Butcher said.

“The proposed Big Rocks Weir project could boost North Queensland’s economy and create jobs for the North of our state,” he said.

“Big Rocks Weir would be located on the Burdekin River and augment urban water supply, support local agriculture, create jobs and improve water security for the region. 

“Charters Towers Regional Council estimates the project would have a capital cost of about $60 million and create 172 full-time equivalent jobs during construction and one to two operational jobs.”

The Queensland Government committed $3 million for Charters Towers Regional Council to conduct an assessment of environmental and other regulatory approvals, geotechnical assessments, detailed weir design, and water product and pricing definition.

The council proposes that, subject to approvals, construction of Big Rocks Weir could commence in 2023.

More information on the project is available here.

Big Rocks Weir decision a step closer