The Queensland Government has announced that six contracts, worth a combined $1.7 million, have been awarded for a range of planning activities for its Burdekin Falls dam improvement project.
The contracts will support 80 jobs, with 50 of these in the Townsville region.
The jobs involve geotechnical investigations, quarry material sourcing, cultural heritage and native title work, and the establishment of a 17-person temporary camp to reduce time spent driving to and from the site, assisting with fatigue management and reducing vehicle movements on local roads.
The contracts awarded include:
- Townsville-based Simmonds Enterprise will provide access tracks and earthworks for quarry source investigation
- Townsville-based Everick Cultural Heritage will work with Traditional Owners to coordinate cultural heritage surveys and management agreements and support important native title discussions
- Three Queensland-based firms: Contract Drilling, Drilling Solutions, and Geodrill Solutions Australia will provide specialist drilling capability to support rock and aggregate requirements
- National Mobile Camps, based in the Toowoomba region, have been engaged to construct the temporary workers’ camp
The announcement follows the government’s 2023–24 Budget commitment of a $440 million down payment, on top of $100 million already committed, toward safety works and raising the dam by two metres.
Queensland Minister for Water, Glenn Butcher, said, “The Queensland Government’s funding commitment is being put to good use, ensuring important planning and investigation activities can get underway.
“Raising Burdekin Falls Dam by two metres will significantly boost the amount of water available for future demand, whether that comes from industry, agriculture or urban water supply.”
Queensland Member for Townsville, Scott Stewart, said, “I am so pleased that progress is tracking ahead on this crucial project.
“Raising the dam will address future demand, whether that demand comes from agriculture, industry, urban water supply, or from new and emerging industries, such as hydrogen.”
Queensland Member for Mundingburra, Les Walker, said, “With up to 50 local jobs coming from these contracts alone, the works at Burdekin Falls Dam are already contributing to regional growth.
“As an 18-year-old I worked as an apprentice on the construction of Burdekin Falls Dam, and this project will mean more opportunities for locals to start their career in North Queensland.”
Queensland Member for Thuringowa, Aaron Harper, said, “With the project set to create 350 jobs during construction, we can expect considerable flow-on economic benefits for North Queensland.
“Ensuring there is water security for the region is essential to support agriculture, industry and the community which is why we’re investing in this project as well as stages one and two of the Haughton Pipeline.”
Sunwater Chief Executive Officer, Glenn Stockton, said, “These packages are key to supporting important survey, approval and planning work for Burdekin Falls Dam and will build on detailed investigations Sunwater has already completed.
“This work will ensure we can make vital project decisions, including where to source clay, rock and other aggregate materials and will support ongoing engagement with Traditional Owners to ensure Aboriginal cultural heritage is appropriately identified, protected and managed during project activities.
“Planning is progressing well for the improvement and raising projects and we expect to submit a draft of the EIS to the Queensland Coordinator-General this year.”
Sunwater previously submitted an initial detailed business case to the Queensland Government and is continuing work on the environmental impact statement, which will consider potential environmental, economic and social impacts of the raising project and how potential impacts can be minimised, mitigated or offset.
Once the EIS is completed, a final investment decision will be made.