THE Coordinator General has declared an integrated agricultural project proposed for North Queensland a 'coordinated project'.
Acting Premier Jeff Seeney said the Etheridge Integrated Agricultural Project is proposed for 326 000 ha of land west of Georgetown in the Etheridge Shire Council area.
"Integrated Food and Energy Developments Pty Ltd propose to create an extensive agricultural hub producing sugar and guar beans for Asian markets," Mr Seeney said.
"The proponents also have longer term plans to include a sugar mill, meat processing plant, aquaculture operation and alternative energy facilities in their project.
"Should it proceed, this project would provide a boost to the North Queensland economy that has been hit hard in recent times by the live cattle export ban and drought.
"The State Government welcomes privately funded projects that have the potential to create jobs and positive economic outcomes, and this proposal supports our vision to grow the agricultural pillar of the economy."
Mr Seeney said the Coordinator General's declaration signalled the start of a rigorous environmental impact statement (EIS) process and should not be construed as the green light for this project to proceed.
"This ambitious proposal will now be thoroughly assessed by the Coordinator General with draft terms of reference for an Environmental Impact Statement to be released for public comment from January 11," he said.
The proposal includes a 240,000ha beef cattle operation, 65,000ha of cropping land, 18,000ha designated for water storage, and 2000ha of infrastructure.
It features a constructed lake, overland gravity channels to support trickle tape irrigation, accommodation, including temporary construction camps, seasonal village and permanent residential developments, and the installation and operation of a temporary on-site pipe manufacturing facility during the construction phase.
View full project details here.