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    Minister for Local Government, Planning and Sport
    The Honourable Andrew Fraser

    $52 million for Mackay water infrastructure: Fraser

    Minister for Local Government, Planning and Sport
    The Honourable Andrew Fraser

    Sunday, November 19, 2006

    $52 million for Mackay water infrastructure: Fraser

    November 19, 2006

    $52 million for Mackay water infrastructure: Fraser

    The State Government today delivered on its commitment to secure Queensland’s coastline by providing almost $52 million towards the construction of water recycling and reuse infrastructure in the Mackay and Whitsunday region.

    Local Government Minister Andrew Fraser and Mackay MP and Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin announced final approval of the $51.6 million in funding today and presented the Mackay City Council with a cheque for $3.7 million for the first funding instalment.

    “The Mackay Effluent Reuse and Water Recycling Scheme will reduce the amount of effluent released into the Great Barrier Reef and provide a positive benefit to farmers in the region,” Mr Fraser said.

    “The Mt Basset Sewage Treatment Plant will be decommissioned and sewerage will be diverted to an upgraded facility at Bakers Creek where it will be treated before being used as a water supply for local crops.

    “This will allow the region to re-use wastewater, secure a consistent water supply for local farms and reduce the environmental impact on the surrounding waterways.”

    Mr Mulherin said the new scheme would also be a huge benefit to the region’s primary producers who supply more than 20 per cent of the nation’s raw sugar from the four factories in the region.

    “Farmers will be able to buy this water to irrigate their crops which will not only save 8,500ML of groundwater each year, but provide a more sustainable sugar cane industry,” Mr Mulherin said.

    “The facility will recycle most of Mackay’s wastewater, while protecting and rehabilitating overcommitted groundwater resources.

    “The Reef is one of Mackay’s greatest assests so it’s essential that we minimise the harm that wastewater discharge has on the reef’s fragile ecosystem.

    “High levels of nitrogen can be particularly harmful to sea grass, which is habitat for fish and food for the endangered dugong.

    “As a government, we need to find solutions that will ensure the long-term sustainability of our environment for future generations, which is why we have committed $43.6 million towards the $130 million project.

    “I’m also pleased to see the Commonwealth Government has recognised the value of this project by matching our contribution.”

    Mr Fraser said Mackay’s population was expected to increase by 25,000 to 46,000 in the next 20 years, so infrastructure was needed to manage the growth.

    “That’s why the Beattie government has also committed $8.6 million towards upgrading the Bucasia Waste Water Treatment Plant,” Mr Fraser said.

    Member for Whitsunday Jan Jarratt said:

    “The plant is currently running at capacity, servicing around 8,500 persons, so it needs upgrading to cater for future demand.

    “When completed, it will have the capacity to service 15,000 people so is expected to handle the increase in demand until 2020, which is great forward thinking from Mackay City Council.

    “Together, these projects are a considerable undertaking for the Mackay City Council which all produce significant environmental, social and economic benefits for the residents of Mackay.”

    Since 1998, Mackay City Council has received more than $13.2 million in Local Government and Planning portfolio grants and subsidies.

    Media Contact: Chris Taylor 3227 8825 or 0419 710 874