The Queensland Government has announced $510 million for water infrastructure and planning projects, to improve water security for the state’s communities and provide economic growth and job opportunities.
The investment marks a record water investment since the government change in 2015.
Queensland Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water, Glenn Butcher, said more than $447 million has been set aside for water security projects.
“This government supports projects that stack up and provide jobs and economic growth to Queensland communities, and this budget is just more evidence of our commitment to the people of Queensland,” Mr Butcher said.
“This is a budget that delivers for the whole of Queensland. Water is one of our most precious commodities and we’ve always said we’ll fund the projects that will provide jobs, growth and surety to all of our communities,” Mr Butcher said.
“I look forward to seeing the difference our continued investment in water is making right across this state.”
The 2022-23 Budget documents also detail the significant spending the government-owned corporations continue to make in water infrastructure across the state.
That includes funding to prepare to rebuild Paradise Dam, investigating additional water supply, upgrading recreational areas at regional dams, finishing the South West Pipeline, dam improvement programs, and investments to critical infrastructure in central and north-west Queensland.
List of water security projects announced include:
- $300 million has been committed to deliver the Toowoomba to Warwick Pipeline project to provide drought contingency for Warwick and surrounding communities and a permanent water supply to Toowoomba satellite communities
- $107.5 million over the next two years has been committed to shore up Stage One of the Cairns Water Security program, to support the growing needs of the far north
- $40.4 million over three years has been allocated to construction of a drinking water pipeline from Gracemere to Mt Morgan, as well as necessary water infrastructure upgrades in Gracemere
- The Hughenden community will benefit from $25.6 million for the development of Flinders Shire Council’s Hughenden Water Bank project: a 7000mL, off-stream water storage and distribution system to support development and expansion of irrigated agriculture and industry development
- The highly successful Building our Regions program will progress with $39 million to further support regional communities with urban water supply and water treatment infrastructure
- The Cloncurry Community Service Obligation payments will continue, with almost $28 million over four years to subsidise the delivery of water to Cloncurry Shire Council, via the North West Queensland Pipeline
- Stage two of the Rural Water Futures program has also received $9.3 million in funding over the next two years to ensure the state’s precious water resources are managed sustainably into the future and to deliver tangible benefits to irrigators, the environment and community more broadly
Smaller safe and secure water supply investments:
- $7.1 million allocated over four years to enhance water modelling capacity to support water planning, water security and infrastructure assessments
- $5.5 million provided over four years to develop a Queensland bulk water infrastructure assessment plan, a strategic framework to inform future water infrastructure investment decisions
- $4.9 million over four years for a Queensland rural water compliance system, to develop improved systems and capability, which will support the department’s compliance and enforcement of the Water Act 2000
- $3.4 million over four years to address recommendations from the Queensland Audit Office report into dam safety regulation including recruiting specialist regulation, compliance and engineering staff, and further developing information communication technology capability
- The government is providing additional funding of $300,000 in 2022-23 to the State Council of River Trusts Queensland to continue to support the work of River Improvement Trusts across the state.
Mount Morgan water pipeline
Rockhampton Region Mayor, Tony Williams, said having one of Council’s major advocacy priorities come to fruition is a fantastic outcome for the Mount Morgan Community.
“This has been something this Council has been actively lobbying for, both at the federal and state level, so this [is] great news,” Mr Williams said.
“This commitment, together with the federal funding of $3.5 million and Council’s contribution of completing the business case can now see this project through to completion.
“From here, the next step will be to progress with the detailed design and we will be talking to the community as we move towards construction.”
Rockhampton Water Councillor, Donna Kirkland, said the pipeline project would benefit all ratepayers across the region.
“Council has to spend around $5 million a year to truck water up to Mount Morgan so to have this project funded now is a win for our entire region,” Ms Kirkland said.
“What this does is bring certainty to those residents in Mount Morgan and we look forward to seeing it come to life in the near future as I am sure they will too.”
The Mount Morgan dam project will take around two years to build.