By Duncan Evans
Landholders along the Fitzroy River affected by the Rookwood Weir infrastructure project have seen an improvement in their relationship with Sunwater, the Queensland government-owned corporation tasked with delivering the weir, since going public with their concerns in May.
On May 19, landholders gathered near the weir site alongside Queensland LNP Senator Matt Canavan and registered their complaints to assembled media.
Led by Ann Kirk, the landholders claimed that Sunwater had not responded to their queries in a professional or timely manner.
“It’s been difficult with them to get replies,” Mrs Kirk said at the time.
Issues surrounding compensation payments and water height following completion of the weir were registered as core concerns by the landholders.
Sunwater disputed the claims put forward by the landholders and in a statement released to CQ Today in May, said:
“Sunwater has had more than 2000 interactions directly with landowners and remains fully committed to open and transparent communication.”
“There is a project hotline and website where all enquiries are responded to promptly.
In a telephone call with CQ Today on Monday, Ms Kirk said the relationship had improved since May and she and her fellow landholders were recording genuine progress with the company.
For one thing, Ms Kirk said email response-time had improved.
“I wouldn’t say they’re prompt. They’re not prompt, but it has improved to a degree,” she said.
Ms Kirk said the issue of compensation payments for water pumps was in the process of being settled.
“Things certainly have improved with compensation for putting our new pumps in,” she said.
“They did engage an engineer, an irrigation engineer, to come and look at our pump sites, and to advise them that the quotes that we, and when I say ‘we’ I mean collectively along the river, that our quotes were not unreasonable. But I haven’t got the full report back.”
Ms Kirk also said the issue of water height was in the process of being settled.
“They’re sending out surveyors to tell us where the water level will be when the weir is built.”
Ms Kirk said the surveyors had begun their work on Monday.
“That’s been a huge step forward for us,” she said.
“ I am hopeful, I wasn’t hopeful before, but we’re now hopeful that things are progressing in a more positive manner.”