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The Queensland Government has invested $510 million for water infrastructure and planning in the 2022-23 State Budget.

Queensland Minister for Water, Glenn Butcher, said more than $447 million has been set aside for water security projects, which builds on the Queensland Government’s record investment in water infrastructure.

“More than $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,” Mr Butcher said.

“In the state’s Far North, $107.5 million over the next two years has been committed to shore up Stage 1 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.  

“We’ve committed $26 million to the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct for enabling infrastructure, including a reservoir and 13km pipeline, connecting the precinct and pump station to the Haughton Pipeline – another project funded by the Queensland Government.

“Further west, the Hughenden community will benefit from $25.6 million for the development of Flinders Shire Council’s Hughenden Water Bank project: a 7,000ML, off-stream water storage and distribution system to support development and expansion of irrigated agriculture and industry development.”

Mr Butcher said these funds could be released quickly, once the projects had been thoroughly assessed and the relevant business cases, which are nearly complete, had been submitted, and any necessary federal contribution had been committed.

“We’ve heard from regional Queenslanders that these are the projects that are important to them. We are ready to continue supporting regional Queensland communities because we know water is critical to jobs, growth and liveability in these regions,” Mr Butcher said.

Continuing water programs

The Queensland Government said the highly successful Building our Regions Round 6 program will progress with $39 million allocated in 2022-23 to further support regional communities with urban water supply and water treatment infrastructure.

“Through Building our Regions we’re empowering Queensland councils to make their regions the best they can be. Improved water services are so important to liveability in our regions,” Mr Butcher said.

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 2 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.

The 2022-23 Budget documents also detail the significant spending our government-owned corporations continue to make in water infrastructure across this 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.

Other investments

Safe and secure water supply is a clear focus in this year’s budget, with the following investments also confirmed:

  • $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.

“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 which 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.”

Mount Morgan pipeline funding welcomed

Rockhampton Regional Council has welcomed the $40.4 million funding commitment toward the Mount Morgan water pipeline.

Rockhampton Regional Council 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,” Cr 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.”

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