A re-elected Morrison Government will provide $107.5 million to secure the future of Cairns’ water supply into the next decade, and avoid a potential drinking water shortfall by 2026.
This will allow additional water to be sourced from the Mulgrave River and improve water treatment processes for Cairns’ existing Behana Creek Water supply, supporting community, business and industrial growth in the region. It will also ensure water from the Tinaroo Falls Dam can continue to be dedicated to agricultural purposes.
The Coalition’s commitment provides 50 per cent of the total project cost, with Cairns Regional Council to source the remaining funding from the Queensland Government.
The Cairns Regional Council estimates that the project would support more than 1600 full time equivalent jobs and contribute $243 million to Gross Regional Product.
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said he had been advocating for this project and was proud to have been able to deliver it for the community.
“The Cairns Water Security Project – Stage 1 is the city’s number one infrastructure project,” Mr Entsch said.
“This project is absolutely critical for our city and the liveability of its residents. People need water to survive. It is one of those issues that transcends politics.
“I wasn’t prepared to stand idly by and watch out city run out of water in a few years’ time.
“I was absolutely determined to deliver this project for our community, irrespective of the politically motivated campaign behind it.
“I now call on the Queensland Government to match this funding without any further delays.”
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the commitment was vital to support the needs of a growing region and adds to the Coalition’s record of water security investment across Northern Australia.
“Dam building for our nation continues alongside this funding commitment to secure Cairns’ water supply,” Mr Joyce said.
“We have said we will put money forward for dams but the State Labor Government seems unwilling to work with us to build them.
“Let’s all hope that this changes because water infrastructure is vital to make our nation as strong as possible as quickly as possible.
“Only a Coalition Government can be trusted to look after our regions and have the strong economy in place to ensure we can continue to fund vital water projects.”
Mr Joyce praised Mr Entsch and Special Envoy for Northern Australia Senator Susan McDonald for their strong advocacy and their work with the Council and the community to support this important project for the people of Leichhardt.
“Warren and Susan have worked hard to ensure important regional issues are heard loud and clear by the Coalition Government,” he said.
Special Envoy for Northern Australia Senator Susan McDonald said water security was a key pillar of the most regions-focused government we’ve ever had.
“We have demonstrated our commitment to dams and development in Northern Australia and regional Queensland time and again. We don’t just talk about it, this is proof we are investing where our country makes its money and improving infrastructure throughout non-metropolitan areas,” Senator McDonald said.
“People in our regions can rest assured that this commitment is only going to get stronger.”
The funding commitment supports the Cairns Water Security Strategy developed and adopted by the Cairns Regional Council, which identifies the real possibility of a water shortfall in Cairns by 2026 without action.