General News

17 May, 2024

Blow to $472m water project

CAIRNS ratepayers are staring at a $488 water levy annually for 15 years after the Federal Budget failed to include money for the region’s $472m water security project and if the state government also does not come to the party.

By Nick Dalton

Blow to $472m water project - feature photo

A request for an extra $128.5m from the Australian Government was not included in this week’s national budget. A similar amount is before the Queensland Government.

Mayor Amy Eden hasn’t outlined what the council plans to do to try to raise the hundreds of millions for the Mulgrave River project – the biggest in the council’s history.

“We’re obviously disappointed the Federal Government has not allocated additional funding in the 2024/25 budget given how critical this project is for our community,” she said.

“Without additional funding, it will be our community that bears the cost of this critical infrastructure project through increased rates and/or charges,” she said.

“People are already experiencing significant cost-of-living pressures, including rising cost of mortgage repayments, rent, insurance and day-to-day essentials on top of the financial impacts from Tropical Cyclone Jasper. This project has the unanimous backing of council and is supported by all our local state and federal members, as well as our advocacy partners.”

Advance Cairns chairman Nick Trompf said, while the Federal Budget was big on national initiatives, it was short on specific commitments to Cairns and Far North Queensland.

He said the budget introduced welcome measures to address cost-of-living pressures and skills shortages in regional Australia, but failed to deliver on key projects such as the Cairns water security project.

“We are hard pressed to find any demonstrable new investments in what is Northern Australia’s most populated region, which is deeply disappointing,” Mr Trompf said.

“We will continue to push for additional funds to support Cairns water security project – stage 1 – which is a vital piece of infrastructure. Without these additional funds to meet the rising construction and materials costs, this project will in fact add to further cost-of-living pressures for all Cairns ratepayers,” he said.

“We are hopeful that the door remains open to increased funding of this important initiative and we will continue to push for this critical in


Most Popular