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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Paul Lucas

    STATE FUNDING FOR TOOWOOMBA PIPELINE

    Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Paul Lucas

    Friday, October 31, 2008

    STATE FUNDING FOR TOOWOOMBA PIPELINE

    The State Government has offered to contribute up to a $75 million subsidy to help Toowoomba Regional Council with the cost of the city’s connection to Wivenhoe Dam.

    Deputy Premier Paul Lucas said on top of subsidising the project by 40%, the State Government will also offer to provide water from Wivenhoe Dam at a discounted price until 2013.

    “The Bligh Government stepped in to make sure this $187 million pipeline will be built and now it will help make sure the Garden City can afford it,” said Mr Lucas.

    “With dam levels now below 10% this project is a lifeline for drought ravaged Toowoomba.

    “It is also a real investment in the Garden City’s future, with the capacity to provide enough water until at least 2042.

    “Toowoomba City Council has made it very clear it wants to retain ownership of its water assets which will include this pipeline, instead of joining the Water Grid at this stage.

    “The Council has asked the State Government to make a contribution to the cost of this pipeline and we will deliver for the people of Toowoomba.”

    Member for Toowoomba North Kerry Shine said the subsidy and discount would reduce any cost for the people of Toowoomba.

    “I’m really pleased the State Government is able to help the Toowoomba Regional Council with the cost of this pipeline,” said Mr Shine.

    “It will have the capacity to supply enough water to cope with Toowoomba's population growth for decades to come.

    “Toowoomba Regional Council's modelling has shown that without this pipeline, its dams could run dry by as early as March 2010.

    “With early preparation works already underway the pipeline is due to be finished by the end of next year and pumping water from Wivenhoe by January 2010.

    “The State Government has also granted $11 million dollars to Toowoomba Regional Council to sink bores into the Great Artesian Basin.”

    The Deputy Premier said the Queensland Water Commission would continue talks with the Toowoomba Regional Council on the State’s proposed option on institutional arrangements.

    “The cost of bulk water purchased from the Grid will be discounted below its full cost while ensuring that other SEQ water users are no worse off,” said Mr Lucas.

    “It will then be up to Toowoomba Regional Council to determine its own retail price path for ratepayers – there is no reason why Council cannot use a price path approach like the SEQ Grid, to provide its own gradual transition for households.

    “If the Council applies a price path, an average household using 250 kL pa would see a bill increase next year of around a $1.30 a week or the price of a can of coke.

    “That’s about $69 this year excluding inflation, only slightly more than a Brisbane household’s increase of $64.

    “If the Council doesn’t apply a price path to phase in the bulk water charges, it’s estimated the increase would be about $145 next year.

    “But I want to make it clear these are matters for Toowoomba Regional Council and only it has full knowledge of the existing costs of its water supply system.

    “The QWC will be there to provide its expert advice whenever the Council needs it.

    “The door will also be left open for potential review of these arrangements in 5 years time if needed.”

    Construction of the pipeline will be managed by the State Government's bulk water transport authority, LinkWater, which has engaged an alliance of companies (Clough, Diversified and Maunsell) to design and build the pipeline.

    A route for the 38 km pipeline has now been finalised, starting at the Wivenhoe Dam pump station at the end of Paddy Gully Road, proceeding along Brisbane Valley Highway, through Esk and onto rural land west of the township, leading to Kipper and Cressbrook creeks.

    “The pipeline route was chosen to have the least impact on the community, private landowners and the environment, with no houses to be resumed,” said Mr Lucas.

    “The project will employ about 100 construction workers and use local suppliers of many goods and services, providing an economic boost to the area.”

    Media contact: Matthew Klar 0437 435 223