Thursday, May 30, 2024

Cairns calls for government backing of $215m water project

A new video advocating for a critical $215 million water project and the need for government financial support for the undertaking has been released by Cairns Regional Council.

Council says the video reinforces the need for investment into the Cairns Water Security – Stage 1 project and highlights the impacts on the region should the project not proceed.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said the Cairns Water Security Stage 1 project will secure the city’s water needs well into the next decade by sourcing new water from the Mulgrave River, which will be integrated into the Cairns network.

He said inaction on the matter would impact the community, compromise the city’s reputation as a tourist destination and kerb Tableland agricultural industries.

“If we do nothing, we can expect severe and more frequent water restrictions for residents and business,” Mayor Manning said.

“One option to cater to our city’s growing needs would be to access water from the Barron River and divert it away from Tableland famers – this is certainly not our preferred option as it could severely impact our region’s agricultural integrity.

“Failing to secure the city’s future water supply will place constraints on our economy, place future jobs at risk, will lead to a loss of business and consumer confidence, and do lasting damage to the region’s tourism reputation.”

The video also urges local businesses to give their stamp of approval to the project by spreading the message, sharing Council’s water security Facebook posts and YouTube videos, and importantly allowing Council to use their logo as part of a support board.

“We need to demonstrate to governments that there is strong business and widespread community support for this project,” Mayor Manning said.

“Federal and State Governments have invested funds in other water projects in Queensland and we believe that the Cairns Water Security – Stage 1 project merits similar support.

“Furthermore, an analysis of State Government budgeted direct capital expenditure over the past 10 years reveals that per capita allocation for Cairns remains the lowest of any region outside the South East Queensland and Wide Bay regions.

“When compared to the Central Queensland region, if our region had received the same per capital CAPEX over that 10-year period, we would have benefitted from more than $3.8 billion in extra funding – enough to pay for the Cairns Water Security – Stage 1 project 18 times over.

“We have never asked for more than anyone else, we have always asked for our fair share, which is why we believe our water security project warrants government funding.”

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