A Queensland Coalition MP has called for the resurrection of the large Tully Millstream hydro-electricity project, and Deputy Prime Minister Barbaby Joyce has reportedly agreed to look at the proposal.
The Townsville Bulletin has reported Hinchinbrook LNP MP Andrew Cripps has written to Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan seeking support for an updated feasibility study into the 600MW project, which was shelved in the 1980s because it would impact on World Heritage areas.
Tully hydro could power 175,000 homes and cut carbon emissions by more than one million tonnes a year.
Cripps said the time was right to revive the project given the Federal Government’s support for northern Australia and a $2 billion expansion of the Snowy Mountains hydro scheme.
Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation completed initial work on the Tully Millstream scheme but it was abandoned in the late 1980s with the declaration of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
About 4300ha of land northwest of Tully would need to be flooded for the project, of which Mr Cripps said 1290ha was within the World Heritage Area. He told the Bulletin there needed to be a “trade off” for the loss of this area to enable the project to proceed.
“As a North Queenslander and a North Queensland MP, I have waited a long time for the policy agenda to suit a serious proposal to revive the Tully Millstream Hydro-electric Scheme,” he told the Bulletin.
“I believe that time is now. Another generation of North Queenslanders should not be denied the opportunity to benefit from this major piece of economic infrastructure.