Today Townsville Enterprise was pleased to attend a meeting convened by Member for Herbert Phil Thompson, Member for Dawson George Christensen, and Senator Susan McDonald to discuss the findings from the Jacobs led business case for the Haughton Water Pipeline Stage 2.
As well as the three local Federal Government representatives, the meeting was attended by the Department of Infrastructure, Townsville City Council, Townsville Chamber of Commerce, Independent Chair of the Water Taskforce Brad Webb and the Water for Townsville Action Group. We welcomed the opportunity to raise our concerns about the report recommendations.
During the meeting we made our position clear - we were not attending to debate if Stage 2 needed to go ahead, this decision was already confirmed following the Independent Water Taskforce handing down its findings recommending Stage 2. This was then endorsed by all three levels of Government through the Townsville City Deal and supported by our community leaders. Prime Minister Scott Morrison further endorsed this position when funding was allocated to Stage 2 in November 2018.
It was made apparent in today's meeting that the scope for the Jacobs led business case was not aligned to simply delivering Stage 2, but took a much broader approach, including determining whether the Stage 2 recommendation was a viable option.
It was also clear that Jacobs' delivery methodology differed from Townsville City Councils who are already delivering Stage 1 of the project. These methodologies need to align and we encourage the Government to work closer with the Townsville City Council considering they will be the lead on delivering the project.
This type of work had already been comprehensively completed by the Water Taskforce over an 18 month period and did not require re-examination. At the time of announcing Jacobs had been awarded the business case on 1 March 2019, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said, “The business case will ensure value for taxpayer’s money and determine the precise scope of the project, which includes construction of a new pipeline from the Haughton Pump Station to the Burdekin River”. We urge the Federal Government to remain committed to it's promise on how to best and most effectively deliver this important project.
Townsville Enterprise will write to the Deputy Prime Minister, along with the Townsville Chamber of Commerce and Independent Chairman Brad Webb, to represent the views of our community on the critical importance of this project. We are very confident that Phil, Susan and George support the united position of the community and will deliver this message loud and clear in Canberra.
Drought proofing Townsville has been our community's number one priority for decades and we will not accept going back to square one. The $195M to deliver this project is in the Federal Budget and is allocated for Stage 2 of the pipeline. The report is done, the debate is over, now is the time to deliver.