The mid west downs country is the most drought prone area of Australia.
It would be a magnificent achievement to conquer drought over what is a fifth of the entire surface area of Queensland.
It would mean getting rid of the pigs and the prickly acacia trees and the land degradation that they’ve caused and to turn it into the “plains of promise”, as AC Gregory called it.
HIPCO/Koppen (irrigation project proposal) will bring $100 million dollars a year into the Hughenden economy if handled properly.
Once the template is built at Hughenden then all these others will flow on.
Richmond has put so much time and effort into a much bigger scheme.
Then there’s Cloncurry, Normanton, Georgetown, Charters Towers, Burketown and similarly in the Far North and Peninsula.
Hughenden is simply diverting the very upper most reaches of the Flinders River with a relatively small flow into a magnificent off stream storage sites delineated by HIPCO/Koppen and the Hughenden community.
I would estimate that if the irrigation area is used for cattle it will fatten close to 100,000 head of cattle per year which makes the prospect of a killing works at Hughenden an absolute certainty.
Similarly at Richmond and Cloncurry, and I would hope a finishing works in Charters Towers.
Please God, with Normanton becoming the live cattle capital.
The irrigation scheme at Normanton will make it the live cattle export capital of Australia.
But this ain’t going to happen unless we believe that it’s going to happen, unless we’re determined that it’s going to happen and determined to see that it will happen.
There are grave dangers - the LNP’s idea of development is to bring in a Chinese corporation with their workers and get generous donations for their pay.
The ALP’s concept of development is a tunnel in Brisbane.
As the great economist John Quiggin said – “one thing you must say about successive Queensland governments is that they have vision -‘tunnel vision’.
Bob Katter is the federal member for the seat of Kennedy