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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Working Queensland Cabinet Committee focus on infrastructure, jobs in Mount Isa

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016

    Working Queensland Cabinet Committee focus on infrastructure, jobs in Mount Isa

    The Palaszczuk Government’s Working Queensland Cabinet Committee has met in Mount Isa today to discuss local projects and opportunities to support economic development and employment.

    Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was joined by:

    • Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham;
    • Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports and Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply Mark Bailey;
    • Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs Grace Grace; and
    • Assistant Minister of State Assisting the Premier Mark Ryan.

    “The meeting was an important opportunity for Cabinet Ministers to meet locally to discuss local projects and opportunities for future economic growth and employment,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

    “I am determined for the Working Queensland Cabinet Committee to tour the regions before the Budget on 14 June. We met in Townsville in January and Mackay earlier this month, after Cabinet met in Gladstone in February."

    “The issues and opportunities put before us today will be part of the deliberations in the preparation of the next State.”

    Key achievements in Mount Isa

    The Palaszczuk Government stopped planned the sale of the Mount Isa-Townsville rail line, and provided $25 million for a more stable and reliable track structure for freight services by replacing steel sleepers with concrete. This project will support an estimated 75 regional jobs.

    The Government amended the Environment Protection Act to extend the life of the Mount Isa copper smelter to 2022, protecting local jobs.

    The Government established the North West Minerals Province Taskforce to work with the resource sector and communities to address resource industry challenges.

    In addition, the Government has provided $200,000 each for the Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Zone (MITEZ) and Gulf Savannah Development (GSD) to deliver strategic projects that have economic benefits for communities from Charters Towers to Doomadgee.

    Mount Isa Hospital redevelopment and nurse graduates

    To improve health services, the Government allocated $13.2 million to redevelop Mount Isa Hospital paediatrics and maternity wards, to fully refurbish the hospital’s central sterilisation department, to conduct minor refurbishments to operating theatres and to redevelop the radiology department to support a new MRI machine. This is part of the $65.2 million investment in the hospital upgrade.

    Twenty-one new nurse graduate positions will be appointed for Mount Isa Hospital in 2016 in addition to the 13 positions provided in 2015.

    “Priority initiatives”

    The Palaszczuk Government helped secure the Northern Gas Pipeline to link Tennant Creek in the Territory to Mt Isa. Last year, the Northern Territory Government announced Jemena had won the tender to build the $800 million, 623-kilometre pipeline by 2018. A 165-kilometre section of pipeline is in Queensland.

    The Committee was also briefed on the development of the Townsville to Darwin rail corridor. Late last year, Ms Palaszczuk and Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles signed a memorandum of understanding to implement a joint approach and to seek funding from the Federal Government for a pre-feasibility corridor study under a $5 million commitment for rail freight studies in its Northern Australia White Paper.

    The Committee also noted 15-year Australian Infrastructure Plan, released in February, included Northern Gas Pipeline and Mount Isa to Townsville corridor upgrade as “priority initiatives”.

    State Infrastructure Plan

    The State Infrastructure Plan identifies key projects over the next four years in the Mount Isa region included:

    • Mica Creek Power Station overhauls;
    • Lake Julius power reliability improvements;
    • Mount Isa Water Board projects;
    • Moondarra pipeline system upgrade; and
    • Mount Isa Health Campus redevelopment.

    During consultation on the SIP, the following projects were highlighted for further investigation for the Mount Isa region:

    • Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Corridor upgrade project;
    • Kennedy Developmental Road (Hann Highway) sealing;
    • connecting remote communities through optic fibre technology;
    • improve drive tourism support infrastructure; and
    • long distance coach infrastructure.

    The $500 million State Infrastructure Fund released with the SIP, included $180 million for the Significant Regional Infrastructure Projects Program to deliver regionally significant infrastructure projects identified by communities, create jobs and grow Queensland’s economy.

    The Significant Regional Infrastructure Projects Program is in addition to the $200 million Building Our Regions program.

    Building Our Regions

    The Committee highlighted the opportunities for local councils to propose shovel-ready infrastructure projects for the next $70 million round of the Building Our Regions program.

    Applications for the next round open on 4 April.

    Under the previous round, funded projects in the north-west included:

    • $1.94 million to significantly improve telecommunications access for Burketown by installing 90.6 kilometres of fibre optic cable to provide high-speed (ADSL 2+) broadband internet, 4G mobile phone services and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Burketown is currently reliant on an aging and overburdened radio network for all mobile and internet access. As part of this project, Telstra Corporation is upgrading the Burketown telecommunications exchange and mobile tower (4G enabled) and installing Wi-Fi infrastructure. Project is due to be completed in October 2016;
    • $1 million for upgrade to Cloncurry Saleyards, the second largest cattle-handling facility in Queensland, with works to focus on dipping, clearing and spelling facilities for livestock in transit bound for domestic and international markets as well as environmental, biosecurity, and health and safety compliance measures. Project is expected be completed in May 2016;
    • $500,000 for a three megalitre reservoir, with the ancillary components to connect the reservoir to the water treatment plant and then to the Georgetown's reticulated system in Etheridge Shire to be completed in August 2016; and
    • $275,000 for replace Julia Creek’s existing aged and non-compliant sewage treatment system with a new Membrane Bioreactor Package Sewage Treatment Plant with greater capacity, be more efficient and produce higher quality effluent that is potentially suitable for reuse. Project to be completed in August 2016.

    For more information on Building our Regions visit

    Budget 2015-16 projects

    The Committee was briefed on progress of key investments in the 2015-16 State Budget including:

    • $9.29 million in 2015-16 for replacements and refurbishments of Mica Creek Power Station;
    • $5.72 million for out-of-home care placement services for children and young people;
    • $5.35 million to complete construction of 14 new dwellings at Doomadgee;
    • $5.40 million to complete construction of 11 new dwellings at Mornington Island; and
    • $1.26 million for water filtration plant at Mount Isa terminal reservoir;

    Accelerated Works Program

    The Palaszczuk Government announced it would accelerate $13.6 million in works in the Mount Isa region to support jobs under its Accelerated Works Program.

    The AWP included the $12.6 million Queensland Rail culvert renewals at Mount Isa and $1 million for the refurbishment of Mount Isa Fire Station.

    School maintenance over Easter holidays

    More than $140,000 will be spent on maintenance projects in four north-west Queensland schools over the Easter holidays.

    The projects are:

    • $68,500 to replace shade structure and $20,000 to refurbish blocks A, B and F at Mornington Island State School;
    • $35,730 to refurbish and repurpose Block A at Cloncurry State School P-12;
    • $15,000 to refurbish Block A at Hughenden State School; and
    • $4400 to refurbish canteen at Doomadgee State School.

    Media contact: 0417 263 791