Pipe dreams: Councils find comfort in government move to clear sewerage backlog
Sewerage and waterworks bogged down in red tape will begin to flow again thanks to $69 million from the State Government to get infrastructure upgrades moving.
Fifty councils from across Queensland will share in the funding under the sixth round of the Building our Regions program to pay for 99 critical water and sewerage infrastructure projects.
While relieved by the funding, Local Government Association of Queensland CEO Alison Smith said the fund needed to continue to take the strain off local ratepayers.
She said the fund was providing continued capital investment in water and sewerage infrastructure to meet a backlog of renewal, upgrade and replacement of water and sewerage assets, while also helping to develop a pipeline of projects that support and diversify regional local economies.
“This is why Queensland councils are asking that the program be continued beyond its current funding allocation, and continues the focus on securing the water infrastructure funding that councils and communities need over the next 10 years,” Smith said.
Burdekin Shire Mayor Lyn McLaughlin was joining in the celebrations after it was confirmed the district’s RegenAqua macro-algal facility, which will use native green algae to treat wastewater, had received a portion of the funding.
“This project is the first of its kind and will revolutionise the treatment of wastewater for all smaller coastal councils,” McLaughlin said.
“The facility is not only significantly cheaper to both construct and maintain than a tertiary wastewater treatment plant but, by removing potentially harmful nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen from wastewater, the facility will reduce human impact on the Great Barrier Reef and provide a scalable template which can be constructed in other local government areas – not only in Queensland, but around the world.
“The Burdekin Shire is a hub of innovation, and we are incredibly proud to be home to the first full-scale RegenAqua facility in partnership with Pacific Bio and James Cook University.
“As a council with a small ratepayer base, initiatives of this magnitude would not be possible without either years of budgeting or support from private enterprise and other tiers of government.”