In a significant milestone for Australia’s water infrastructure, the construction of the Rookwood Weir, the country’s largest since World War 2, has been successfully completed. The $568.9 million project, located west of Rockhampton, is set to yield 86,000 megalitres annually, providing a substantial boost to economic growth, agricultural production, and industry in Central Queensland.

The completion of the Rookwood Weir marks a historic moment, being the largest weir finalized in Australia since World War 2 and the most extensive water infrastructure delivered since the completion of the Wyaralong Dam by the Queensland Government in 2011.

Federal Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek, Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick, and Water Minister Glenn Butcher, along with local Queensland MPs and dignitaries, gathered on-site to commemorate the achievement.

Minister Cameron Dick highlighted the project’s economic impact, stating: “This generational piece of infrastructure will diversify Central Queensland’s economy, provide water security, create good long-term local jobs, and increase the prosperity of the entire region.”

The construction, which commenced in late 2020, injected over $270 million into Central Queensland’s economy, creating more than 350 jobs. Importantly, over 30 apprentices and trainees participated in the project, contributing to the workforce for future water projects in Queensland.

The Rookwood Weir aims to secure water resources for Central Queensland, playing a crucial role in driving economic growth. Over 36,000 megalitres of water from the weir have already been allocated for agricultural use, enabling local businesses and larger enterprises to expand and diversify.

Queensland Minister for Water, Glenn Butcher, emphasized the significance of the achievement, stating: “Rookwood Weir demonstrates the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to Central Queensland. We deliver on our promises and continue to invest in regional water infrastructure.”

The completion of the Rookwood Weir is expected to deliver long-term benefits to the region, providing water security and job creation. The first water from the weir is anticipated to be available for use in 2024.

The project involved several supporting initiatives, including upgrades to infrastructure such as the Capricorn Highway intersection, Thirsty Creek Road, Riverslea Bridge, Hanrahans Crossing, Foleyvale Bridge, and a new fishway at the Fitzroy River Barrage.

Rookwood Weir was delivered through an Alliance comprised of Sunwater, construction partners ACCIONA and McCosker Contracting, and design partner GHD.

Sunwater CEO, Glenn Stockton, expressed gratitude to all involved in the project, acknowledging the challenges faced during construction. “A debt of gratitude also goes to Darumbal peoples and the neighbouring Jetimala and Gaangulu Nation peoples whose Country we have had a footprint on, local residents and the broader Central Queensland community for their support and positive contributions to the successful delivery of this vital regional asset,” he said.

The weir also holds cultural significance, with an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) signed between the Queensland Government and Darumbal People Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC in April 2022. The Darumbal People, the Traditional Custodians of the land, provided a traditional language name for the weir – Rookwood Weir (Managibei Gamu), meaning ‘keeping-saving’ water. The ILUA ensures water allocation from the weir for the Darumbal People in perpetuity, supporting ongoing cultural and economic development opportunities.

In a statement, Federal Minister for Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, highlighted the project’s environmental benefits, stating: “This project is a win for nature, a win for jobs, and a win for water security in Central Queensland.”