Big Rocks Weir

On 21 August 2020, the final business case for the Big Rocks Weir was handed to Government. The Business Case, which was part of the Australian Government’s $54 million commitment to the Hells Gates Dam project, was undertaken by Townsville Enterprise Limited. 

The Business Case examined the feasibility of Big Rocks Weir, a proposed new weir on the Burdekin River, within the Charters Towers Local Government Area, approximately 26 kilometres north of Charters Towers and 23 km upstream from the existing Charters Towers Weir.  

The Big Rocks Weir Business Case suggests a strongly positive economic outcome from the construction of a 188 metre long, 10,000 ML capacity weir at Big Rocks, north of Charters Towers. A portion of the water captured by the Big Rocks Weir would go toward boosting water security in the Charters Towers region, with the remainder available for up to 5,000 ha of higher value agriculture.

The Australian Government has committed $30 million for the construction of Big Rocks Weir.

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Big Rocks Weir Final Business Case

Hells Gates Dam Scheme (including Big Rocks Weir)

The Australian Government has committed $54 million to the project, with $24 million for a detailed business case, including detailed geotechnical and cultural heritage assessments, environmental impact report and engineering analysis. The business case will test findings from the 2018 Hells Gates Dam Feasibility Study that up 50,000 ha of irrigation could be supported through a 2,100 GL Dam, bolstered by 3 downstream irrigation weirs and a further weir located at Big Rocks near Charters Towers. 

The Hells Gate Dam Scheme is a potentially nation-building undertaking, involving over $5 billion in enabling infrastructure and over $1 billion of on-farm investment during construction. The 2018 Feasibility Study also suggested the Hells Gates Dam project could result in the creation of more than 4,000 long-term regional jobs and deliver up to $1.3 billion of GRP annually into the North Queensland economy.

The Australian Government has committed an additional $30 million in capital funding for Big Rocks Weir near Charters Towers, should the business case show it to be feasible.

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Townsville Enterprise Limited feasibility study

Hughenden Irrigation Scheme

To support economic development in the Flinders River region, the Australian Government has committed $2 million to the Hughenden Irrigation Project Corporation (HIPCo) to undertake detailed feasibility work. This work will assess a range of options for a major water infrastructure complex to support a major new irrigation area up to 10,000 ha, enhance the region’s drought and flood mitigation capacity, and improve regional fodder production to boost North Queensland’s cattle industry.

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The initial investment is being backed by a $180 million Australian Government commitment towards the building of dam infrastructure should it prove to be feasible, with funding provided through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

HIPCO project site