In February 2023, the Queensland Government approved the Fitzroy to Gladstone Pipeline (FGP) for construction. The FGP is a $983 million pipeline to address the single source water supply risk from Awoonga Dam, enabling long-term water security to Gladstone’s industry and support ongoing economic development in the region.

The 117km pipeline will run from the Lower Fitzroy River in Rockhampton and connect to Gladstone Area Water Board’s existing water network at Yarwun. The pipeline comprises a water treatment plant, reservoirs and pumping stations at locations along its alignment including Laurel Bank, Alton Downs and Aldoga.

The FGP will have the capacity to transport 30GL per annum from the Fitzroy River to Gladstone, and is designed to be efficiently retrofitted with additional infrastructure to enable bi-directional flow in the future. McConnell Dowell BMD Group Joint Venture (MBJV) has been contracted to construct the FGP, and once constructed, the FGP and associated infrastructure will continue to be owned and managed by the Gladstone Area Water Board (GAWB).

Benefits of the FGP include:

• Water security and reliability
• Continuous operation of Gladstone’s industry
• More than 400 jobs at the peak of construction
• Contribution to the growth of the Queensland economy
• More than 40 per cent of construction costs to be spent locally throughout project delivery
• More than 500 hours of training to the delivery team
• More than 25 apprenticeships and traineeships
• Target spend of $10 million with suppliers and businesses owned by First Nations Australians

GAWB’s Chief Executive Officer, Darren Barlow, said the Queensland Government’s decision to approve the pipeline for construction reflected the region’s importance to the state’s economy. “The announcement by Premier Palaszczuk and Minister Butcher is pivotal in securing water for Gladstone’s industry as well as helping sustain the Queensland economy and provide jobs, and I thank the Queensland Government for their decision,” Mr Barlow said.

“Water security has been an ongoing, critical issue for Gladstone due to the single source water from Awoonga Dam. “Four successive failed wet seasons resulted in a Low Supply Alert Declaration being issued in April 2021. “As owner of the project, we look forward to the MBJV engaging with local suppliers to deliver tangible benefits to the Central Queensland region such as jobs, supply contracts and local capability raising.”

Current and ongoing works include obtaining environmental permits and approvals, detailed design, procurement of subcontractors, equipment and materials, engagement with Traditional Owners, addressing land access arrangements and engagement with State Government, Gladstone and Rockhampton Councils and other interested stakeholders.

In preparation for the start of major construction, a pipe laydown yard, including a washdown area and a vehicle workshop, and a temporary workers accommodation are being established in Gracemere. Earthworks for the laydown area and temporary accommodation camp commenced in June 2023 and these works are expected to be complete by late September or early October.

“While we estimate that at least 60 per cent of our construction workers will be from within the local area, we’re constructing a temporary workers’ accommodation camp to house workers from outside the region,” Mr Barlow said. “We are aware of the high level of pressure on Rockhampton’s rental market at the moment and we have been careful to avoid adding any additional pressure to the market.”

On 23 June 2023, GAWB celebrated the arrival of the first pipe for the Fitzroy to Gladstone Pipeline. The pipe, manufactured and supplied by Steel Mains Pty Ltd, touched down on site in Gracemere in anticipation for the start of major construction. “The first pipe arrival was a significant milestone for the delivery of the Fitzroy to Gladstone Pipeline and is a great opportunity to ensure that this project is on Central Queenslander’s radars,” Mr Barlow said.

Due to the high-pressure water coming through the Fitzroy to Gladstone Pipeline, Mild Steel Cement Lined (MSCL) pipes are required to transport it safely. Almost 110km of MSCL pipe is being manufactured by Steel Mains, a Victorian-based manufacturer and supplier of complete steel pipeline systems.

MSCL pipe fittings, such as welded bends and special sections with instrumentation fittings, are being fabricated in Redbank, Queensland. The remaining 11km of pipe for the pipeline will be made up of High-Density Polyethylene pipe, and is being manufactured in Toowoomba, Queensland.

“MBJV have taken a local-first approach to procurement, and in instances where we have not been able to source materials within Central Queensland, we have worked diligently to ensure materials are being sourced from within the state and within Australia,” Mr Barlow said.

Construction commenced at the northern end of the pipeline corridor at the Fitzroy River Intake in Rockhampton in August 2023. Starting works involve construction at four waterway crossings, as well as pipeline construction from the Fitzroy River intake to Capricorn Highway.

These early works include clearing and grading the pipeline construction zone, the transport, stringing and welding of pipe, trench excavation, sand deliveries and bedding, pipe installation, backfill and reinstatement. The pipeline is expected to be operational in 2026, weather and site conditions permitting. Once constructed, the Fitzroy to Gladstone Pipeline and associated infrastructure will be owned and managed by Gladstone Area Water Board.

To view drone vision of the first pipe arrival, scan the QR code

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