Joint media release: Australia’s largest weir since World War 2 now complete

The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for the Environment and Water
The Hon Cameron Dick, QLD Treasurer, Minister for Trade and Investment
The Hon Glenn Butcher, QLD Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water  

  • The largest weir built in Australia since World War 2 is now complete
  • Rookwood Weir has created more than 350 jobs during construction and will create hundreds more jobs in Central Queensland 
  • The weir will have up-to 86,000 megalitres of water available annually for agriculture, urban and industrial use. That’s the same amount of water as 34,400 Olympic swimming pools

Construction on Australia’s newest major water infrastructure asset is now complete.

The $568.9 million Rookwood Weir, west of Rockhampton, will yield 86,000 megalitres each year to boost economic growth, agricultural production and industry in Central Queensland.

It is the largest weir completed in Australia since World War 2. It is also the largest piece of new water infrastructure delivered in Australia since the Queensland Government completed Wyaralong Dam in 2011.

Federal Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek, Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick and Water Minister Glenn Butcher joined local Queensland MPs, and dignitaries on-site to mark the significant milestone.

Since construction began in late 2020, the project has injected more than $270 million into Central Queensland’s economy and provided 350 jobs, with more than half the positions filled by workers from the local region. Importantly, more than 30 apprentices and trainees have worked on the project, creating more workers for the significant number of Queensland water projects in the pipeline.

The weir will deliver significant benefits to Central Queensland by shoring up the region’s water security and driving economic growth and job creation for generations to come. More than 36,000 megalitres of water from the weir has already been allocated to agricultural use, with a mix of small businesses and larger enterprises from the region now able to expand or diversify their operations.

The first water from the weir is expected to be available for use in 2024.

More than 2.189 million hours were spent building the weir and several supporting projects, including:

  • $2.2 million upgrade of the Capricorn Highway intersection (completed September 2020)
  • $7.5 million upgrade and widening of Thirsty Creek Road (completed June 2020)
  • $12.5 million construction of the 260-metre long Riverslea Bridge (completed April 2021) 
  • $2.2 million upgrade of Hanrahans Crossing (estimated completion November 2023)
  • $17 million construction of a new Foleyvale Bridge (due for completion late 2023)
  • $7 million installation of new fishway at the Fitzroy River Barrage (due for completion mid 2024).

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

Rookwood Weir will also deliver important benefits for the Traditional Custodians of the land at the weir site with the Queensland Government and Darumbal People Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC signing an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) in April 2022.

A water allocation from the weir has been provided to the Darumbal People in perpetuity which will support ongoing cultural and economic development opportunities. A traditional language name will form part of the weir’s official title– Rookwood Weir (Managibei Gamu). This name gifted by the Darumbal People means ‘keeping-saving water.’

Quotes attributable to Federal Minister for Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek:

“Labor is delivering for Central Queensland.

“As well as boosting water security for Central Queensland, the Rookwood Weir features an innovative fish lock and turtle passage that will support species habitat and migration in the Lower Fitzroy River.

“This project is a win for nature, a win for jobs and a win for water security in Central Queensland."

Quotes attributable to Queensland Treasurer, Cameron Dick:

“Only a Labor Government delivers the big infrastructure Queensland needs.

“This is the largest piece of new water infrastructure in Australia in more than a decade and the largest weir built in Australia since World War 2. 

“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.”

Quotes attributable to Queensland Minister for Water, Glenn Butcher: 

“Rookwood Weir demonstrates the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to Central Queensland, we deliver on our promises and we continue to invest in regional water infrastructure. This project is part of our $5.2 billion investment in water infrastructure since 2015 which has created 3,400 jobs across the state. 

“We cannot underestimate how significant this achievement is. These big pieces of infrastructure are complex projects – Rookwood Weir was delivered in an in-river environment and impacted by inundation events throughout construction. The fact that it has been delivered on time and won design awards just shows how well we can build things here in Queensland.”

Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Regional Development, Senator Anthony Chisholm:

“The Rookwood Weir won’t just benefit the region environmentally, it’s also brought about a $270 million boost to the Central Queensland economy and has provided 350 local jobs. 

“This landmark project will also safeguard Central Queensland’s water supply into the future by capturing valuable water in the lower Fitzroy River for use across the region. 

“The Albanese Labor Government is getting on with delivering the infrastructure that all regional communities need, so they can continue to be a great place to live, work and visit.”

Quotes attributable to Senator for Queensland, Nita Green:

“This project is a massive win for Central Queensland and goes to show what all levels of government can achieve when they work together for regional communities.

“When you invest in regional jobs, you invest in regional communities.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Rockhampton, Barry O’Rourke: 

“The Rookwood Weir project has delivered an economic boost for Central Queensland, with more than $270 million being spent in the region.

“Local businesses and suppliers benefitted from supply chain opportunities, while workers got the chance to work on a major infrastructure project that will benefit their community for many decades.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Keppel, Brittany Lauga: 

“I’ve visited the site on several occasions while under construction so to see it now completed is absolutely fantastic.  

“Rookwood Weir is transformative project for this region and a win for the people of Central Queensland. It will drive benefits for agriculture, industry and urban water security, supporting the economy for years to come.”

Quotes attributable to Sunwater CEO, Glenn Stockton:

“Over the past three years, Sunwater and our Alliance partners have been dedicated to delivering the Rookwood Weir project safely, efficiently and to the highest standard. 

“I congratulate the project team for their hard work and ability to overcome several challenges, including six river inundations events that prevented in-river works for a total of eight months and in ensuring the right asset is built.

“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.”

Quotes attributable to Mayor of Rockhampton Regional Council, Tony Williams:

“Rookwood Weir is a game changer for our region.

“Already we are seeing the significant investments being made off the back of this project which will drive growth in horticulture, cropping and livestock production.

“There’s also the great investments being made in our local roads and bridges and the construction of the new fishway at the Fitzroy Barrage as part of this project."

Further Information:

Two tender processes have resulted in the successful sale of 36,000 megalitres of water from the weir to several local businesses for a range or irrigation and urban needs.

The Queensland and Australian Labor Governments have contributed $183.6 million each to the total spend, and Sunwater is funding the remainder of the $568.9 million Rookwood Weir.

For more information about the Rookwood Weir project visit the Sunwater website.