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

    STUDY RULES OUT TWO FUTURE DESALINATION PLANT SITES

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

    Monday, February 23, 2009

    STUDY RULES OUT TWO FUTURE DESALINATION PLANT SITES

    South Stradbroke Island and Kawana have been ruled out as possible sites for future desalination plants.

    Deputy Premier Paul Lucas said the Queensland Water Commission’s preliminary assessment has identified Lytton as the most likely site for a possible desalination plant in coming decades.

    “Further work will confirm either Marcoola or Bribie Island as the second priority site by mid year,” said Mr Lucas.

    “The Queensland Water Commission has again indicated it does not expect there will be a need for any new water supplies in the South East beyond the currently planned Water Grid for at least twenty years.

    “Even with population growth and allowances for climate change, two new desalination plants would provide more water than we expect to need in 2056.

    “We are building the most efficient water grid in Australia and maybe even the world but we can’t afford to rest on our laurels, we have to plan for the future.

    “That includes planning for another drought as severe as the current Millennium Drought, our worst on record, which could mean one of these priority sites would be brought forward.

    “Port of Brisbane Corporation and Brisbane Airport Corporation have proposed new sites on their land and these are being considered.”

    Preliminary assessment results based on independent study by Arup Pty Ltd for QWC:

    Category

    Site

    Owner

    ‘Priority’

    Lytton site

    Minister for Industrial Development

    Either Marcoola site or

    Bribie Island site

    Sunshine Coast Regional Council

    State of Queensland

    ‘Reserve’

    Either Marcoola site or

    Bribie Island site

    Sunshine Coast Regional Council

    State of Queensland

    Port of Brisbane site

    and/ or

    Brisbane Airport site

    Port of Brisbane Corporation Limited

    Commonwealth of Australia

    North Stradbroke Island site

    State of Queensland

    Possible expansion of existing Gold Coast Desalination Plant

    Gold Coast City Council/State of Queensland

    ‘Excluded’

    South Stradbroke Island site

    State of Queensland

    Kawana site

    Sunshine Coast Regional Council

    Note: “Reserve” sites would only be considered if priority sites prove unsuitable or additional sites were required.
    Member for Broadwater Peta-Kaye Croft welcomed the decision to exclude South Stradbroke Island.

    “Good science has backed up concerns from locals, which I took to the Queensland Water Commission,” said MsCroft.

    “The study showed the environmental impacts would be extremely difficult if not impossible to manage.

    “This decision will protect South Stradbroke Island for the people of South East Queensland, it is a victory for rational decision-making.”

    Mr Lucas said South East Queensland has relatively few good sites available for desalination schemes.

    ”All have some issues, so it is essential we carefully investigate and preserve the most suitable ones now,” Mr Lucas said.

    “That means if the time should come when we need to build them the process will be quicker, cheaper and minimise any impacts for local communities.

    “The Lytton site is in my electorate but I am happy to back good science unlike the Opposition.

    “The National Party dropped a desalination plant on the people of Bribie Island without any scientific studies.

    “Now they’re trying to flip flop, saying they’ll do the studies after already having made the decision.

    “That sort of kooky, irresponsible approach is a risk to our environment and local communities across South East Queensland.

    “One things is crystal clear, the National Party wants to build another desalination plant somewhere right now, to make up for axing Traveston Crossing Dam.”

    Further detailed studies will now be conducted before the Queensland Water Commission provides its final advice as part of the South East Queensland Water Strategy, which will now be published in mid 2009.

    Any desalination plant would be subject to a full environment assessment process before being built, as well as assessment under Commonwealth environmental legislation.

    Media: Matthew Klar 0437 435 223 or Robert Hoge 0419 757 868