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Urannah vows to keep going after Feds scrap its funding

Business

The proponents of the Urannah Dam and pumped hydro project have had their $483 million funding from the Federal Government slashed, dealing a significant blow to the project and Bowen River Utilities.

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But they have been told to reapply next year for the funds which make up about half of the capital needed for the start of the project in north Queensland.

The scheme was six years down the track of planning and approvals and well ahead of the pumped hydro schemes announced recently by the State Government as part of its renewable energy plan.

However, Urannah appears to have suffered from its alignment with the Morrison government and specifically the National Party, which had championed the project. It was also pushed out of the funding stream by infrastructure projects that were more immediate.

The Hell’s Gate dam near Townsville, which was also a National Party scheme, was also killed off.

The $600 million needed for the Paradise Dam upgrade has been included in the Budget.

Bowen River Utilities chief executive James Benjamin said the company was incredibly disappointed, but maintained that only the timeline was changing.

He said the project would continue to push for funding through its original pathway with the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

“The ongoing, six-year approval process has been long and complex but we won’t give up,” Benjamin said.

“We’ve had productive discussions with the Albanese Government since the elections and we understand the Government needs to prioritise infrastructure projects that will commence construction before our proposed timeline.

“We don’t need our funding in the coming financial year and our project will continue to attract investment from the private sector given our unique mix of food, water and energy our project delivers for north Queensland.”

The LNP’s Shadow Minister for Regional Development Deb Frecklington said dam projects like Urannah and Hells Gate were set to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs, and a raft of new infrastructure for North Queensland.

“Urannah was also set to deliver reliable and affordable energy through hydroelectricity at a time the Federal Government’s own figures show power prices will rise by over 50,” she said

“It is incredibly concerning the Premier and Water Minister failed to advocate for this vital funding to remain.”

 

 

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