Hydro pipeline.

The Queensland Government has pledged more than $1.7 billion toward water infrastructure and planning in its 2023–24 Budget. In addition, major pumped hydro projects will also be supported as part of $19 billion pledged over four years to support renewable energy targets.

Communities across Queensland are set to benefit from the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s more than $1.7 billion investment in water infrastructure and planning – providing more water security and good jobs.

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said, “We know water is a precious and vital resource and this budget is further proof of our commitment to water protection and security.

“In the state’s north, a further $440 million has been locked-in to future-proof Queensland’s largest dam.

“In the Wide-Bay, Central Queensland and Southern Downs we’ve funded the next steps in major infrastructure that will provide long-term security for regional Queensland.

“In recognition of the landmark Path to Treaty bill that was passed, we’ve made a firm commitment to support better engagement with First Nations communities, and more culturally inclusive water planning.”

In the north, a further $440 million, on top of the $100 million already committed, is locked in to progress the upgrade and raising of the state’s largest water storage asset, Burdekin Falls Dam.

Raising the dam by 2m will future-proof Queensland’s largest dam by providing up to 150,000ML of new water allocations, locking in water for agricultural irrigation, groundwater recharge, aquifer management, and supplementing urban use, while powering industries and jobs in North Queensland.  

This budget ensures the Paradise Dam Improvement Project will progress, providing $116.4 million to continue pre-construction activities prior to major construction works commencing late 2024.

This work will deliver long-term water security for the Bundaberg region by restoring the dam’s capacity and improving the dam’s resilience against major and extreme weather events.

In Central Queensland, the State Government is increasing the investment in Rookwood Weir to $568.9 million with $156.7 million to be spent in 2023.

This increased investment will keep the project on track for construction completion by the end of the year. 

Costs have increased due to a range of pressures including six wet weather inundation events, escalating material, workforce and fuel costs, and supply chain issues.

The Queensland and Australian Governments have contributed $183.6 million each to the total spend, and Sunwater is funding the remainder.

The largest weir built since World War II is on track for construction completion by the end of 2023, with commissioning by early 2024. 

A more secure water supply for the Southern Downs is a step closer, with the Toowoomba to Warwick Pipeline project to spend $13.4 million to support pre-construction, which is only part of the more than $300 million commitment to water security in the region.

In addition, Toowoomba Regional Council will receive $15 million over four years to deliver treated water to the communities of Cambooya, Greenmount, Nobby and Clifton.

The Gladstone Area Water Board will spend $548.5 million for the construction of the Fitzroy to Gladstone Pipeline, an important investment in water security recommended by the Bradfield Regional Assessment and Development expert panel, to support better urban water security and new job creating industries coming to Gladstone.

As part of the Path to Treaty, the Queensland Government is allocating $11.7 million over three years for a First Nations Water Strategy, for stronger engagement with First Nations communities, and more culturally inclusive water planning.

This follows passing the Path to Treaty Bill, where the Government outlined a firm commitment to build stronger partnerships with First Nations Peoples.

Safe and secure water supply across Regional Queensland is a key focus of 2023’s budget, with the following investments also confirmed:

  • $2.6 million for an Urban Water Risk Assessment to better understand drinking water and water security risks across regional and remote communities, working with water service providers, local governments and other Queensland Government agencies
  • $8 million over two years has been allocated for a detailed assessment of the water requirements for the hydrogen industry in Gladstone
  • $22.8 million to continue the 15 per cent irrigation price discount
  • $7 million for Cloncurry’s water supply through the Community Service Obligation
  • $10.8 million as part of Queensland’s $40.4 million contribution to the Mount Morgan Pipeline
  • $300,000 to the State Council of River Trusts to continue to support the important work of River Improvement Trusts across Queensland

Building our Regions will continue to strengthen and improve water and sewerage infrastructure and planning projects throughout the state with a $28 million investment, part of the $70 million round six.

This work ensures regional Queenslanders have efficient, reliable water and sewerage infrastructure now and in the future.

Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan

The Palaszczuk Government’s Budget has also allocated a capital investment of $19 billion over four years to deliver on the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, to ensure Queensland meets its renewable energy targets, and remains on track to becoming a renewable energy powerhouse.

Publicly owned energy businesses are leading Queensland’s energy transformation, investing in new wind, solar, storage and transmission, supported by the $4.5 billion Queensland Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund.

The 2023–24 Budget accelerates build-out of new backbone transmission and storage infrastructure to boost capacity of the state’s new SuperGrid, cornerstone investments of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan announced in September 2022.

Publicly owned transmission titan, Powerlink, will also invest $193.8 million in 2023-24 to support the connection of major renewable projects to the grid, including the proposed 2GW Borumba pumped hydro energy storage and Australia’s largest onshore wind project, the 1GW MacIntyre Wind Precinct south-west of Warwick.

New player, Queensland Hydro, will invest $183.7 million to progress the 2GW Borumba Pumped Hydro Energy Storage project near Gympie, at the same time as undertaking the detailed feasibility study into the Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro Energy Storage project west of Mackay, which is proposed to be delivered by 2035.

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