The State Government has begun the first public consultation phase of the environmental assessment process for the proposed Connors River Dafm and Pipelines project.
Coordinator-General Colin Jensen said the draft terms of reference (TOR) for an environmental impact statement (EIS) would be available for public comment until Monday 9 March 2009.
“The proposed dam is located on the Connors Rivers near Mount Bridget in the Isaac Regional Shire, approximately 235 kilometres north west of Rockhampton,” Mr Jensen said.
“The project will employ 250 people during the construction stage and 5 people once completed.”
If approved and constructed, the dam would provide a more secure water supply to the communities in the Bowen Basin and to future mine and industrial developments.
In August 2006 the Queensland Government released the Statewide Water Policy which outlined a plan to improve water security and support future economic growth in regional Queensland.
The policy supports a $451 million investment in regional water infrastructure which aims to meet the needs of industry as well as urban and rural communities.
“It is anticipated that the Connors River Dam would yield about 56,400 mega litres per annum of high reliability water,” Mr Jensen said
“When full, the dam would have a capacity of approximately 373,700 mega litres and a full supply level of 169.1 metres above sea level.”
The project was declared a ‘significant project for which an EIS is required’ by the Coordinator General on 7 March 2008 allowing assessment on a whole-of-government basis coordinated by the Department of Infrastructure and Planning.
“The scale, potential effects and complexity of approvals for this project requires a rigorous EIS to consider the potential environmental, cultural and economic impacts,” Mr Jensen said.
“The proponent, SunWater, for the business case and EIS process, must prepare a detailed EIS outlining the benefits of this project and show how they would and/or minimise potential environmental impacts.
“As the project has been determined by the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts as a ‘controlled action’ the approval of the Commonwealth Minister will also be required.
“It is important for the public to know that the declaration of a ‘significant project for which an EIS is required’ is not an indication of approval or support for a project.
“Rather it is recognition of the significant complexity of a project, the substantial benefits it may bring and the need to assess its impacts,” Mr Jensen said.
The project will include at least one water distribution pipeline from the west of the dam to the northern Bowen Basin, with an ultimate discharge location likely to be near Moranbah.
The public will have the opportunity to comment on the EIS when it is released in mid 2009.
The draft TOR are available on the Connors River Dam and Pipelines webpage.
The draft TOR is also available for viewing during business hours from 2 February 2009 at:
- Nebo Library, Reynolds St, Nebo
- Mackay Library, Civic Centre, Gordon St, Mackay
- Moranbah Library, Grosvenor Complex, Batchelor Parade, Town Square, Moranbah
- State Library of Queensland, Cultural Centre, Stanley Place, South Bank, Brisbane
Submissions should be made to the Department of Infrastructure and Planning by 9 March 2009.