The current proponent of the dam is the Bowen River Utilities, which was previously the Urannah Water Scheme. (1) The project is supported by the local business network Bowen Collinsville Enterprise, who have been developing the Preliminary Business Case for Urannah Dam, and supporting appendices. (2)
The project has been pushed by prominent LNP Ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Queensland LNP leader Deb Finklington, George Christiansen and Matt Canavan. There have been allegations of corruption associated with Federal funds allocated to the Urannah Dam project.
In 2016, $3million was given for a feasibility study for the Urannah Dam project, through the Water Infrastructure Fund, and awarded by the then Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce. It was awarded to a consortium involving the venture capital firm Initative Capital. Iniative Capital is run by John Cotter who is a member of the Queensland Liberal Party State executive, and a regular party donor. Cottor’s business partner, Gerard Paynter, is another prominent member of the LNP. The Depy Prim Minsiter’s office at the time said recommendations for funding were made by Queensland Labor Government, but the Labor Government said this was false and that Urannah Dam project it wasn’t on the list of fudning priorities sent to the Deputy Prime Minister. (3)
In 2019, a further $10 million in Federal funding was given for the development of a detailed business case and environmental assessment. The Queensland LNP leader Deb Finklington has promised another $10m in State funding if elected. There are concerns over conflict of interest, as her husband is employed by the company that would be building the dam. (4)
22/09/2016 Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has sought to point the finger at the Palaszczuk Government over the $3m Urannah Dam feasability study which was awarded to a company with high ranking Qld LNP members but documents show he was the final decision maker.