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Mega dam four times size of Sydney Harbour


The Prime Minister says the mega dam will be a game changer for Queensland.But it will come at an eye-watering cost and is still subject to several approvals.Mr Morrison was in Townsville on Wednesday to spruik his $5.4 billion commitment to get the Hells Gate Dam project off the ground.The dam, to be built along the upper Burdekin River, has been the subject of promises and political sparring for decades.Located in one of the driest parts of Northern Australia, the 2100-gigalitre dam is expected to unlock agriculture by opening up 60,000 hectares of irrigation across the region.If built, it would be the largest dam in Queensland.Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Mr Morrison said the federal government would fully fund the project.He added the only thing required of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is to sign off on the environmental approvals. “All they have to do is get out the big stamp,” he said. “The only thing that would stop it, I think, is if the Greens get in the ear of either the federal Labor Party or they get in the ear of the state Labor Government.”The government expects the project to create more than 7000 jobs and inject $1.3 billion into north Queensland’s economy during construction. Mr Morrison first pledged $54m to the project in 2018 after independent MP Bob Katter secured funding for its first steps in return for confidence and supply on the floor of parliament. But if the commitment was designed to win over Mr Katter’s support ahead of an election, the maverick MP claims the Prime Minister doesn’t have it just yet.Mr Katter told Mr Morrison he should return to the drawing board to ensure the project is in line with the vision of original architect John Bradfield – and built 395 above sea level. “The Prime Minister thinks he’s pushing a proposal that develops North Queensland when actually it destroys the future and potential of the region,” he said. “The Federal Government should do the right thing and build the dam to 395m above sea level and send the water west, as was always proposed by Dr Bradfield.”Mr Morrison said he wasn’t concerned about Mr Katter’s comments. “We‘re at the point of ‘go’ now. You want to build this dam, get on board,” he told reporters.He also denied the project was an election sweetener for Mr Katter. “I love Bob, but it’s not about Bob. And Bob would agree it’s not about Bob,” Mr Morrison said. “What it is about is jobs. It’s about the agriculture that can be created and the wealth that is created.”A final business case into the proposal is expected to be completed in June.

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