Thursday, May 30, 2024

Toowoomba council steps up call for dam safety project funding

Toowoomba Regional Council has today stepped up a call for external funding for the $270 million Cressbrook Dam Safety Improvement Project, with the release of a document aimed at securing grants in the coming Federal and Queensland Budgets.

Mayor, Geoff McDonald said the document’s release, less than a week into the new Council term, was especially timely given he would be attending events in Brisbane later this week along with Federal and State Government ministers and senior public servants.

“I look forward to outlining Council’s request for funding with the federal Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories Kristy McBain and Queensland Minister for Housing, Local Government and Planning and Minister for Public Works Meaghan Scanlon,” Mayor McDonald said.

“I also plan to meet Queensland State Development and Infrastructure Director-General Graham Fraine and will be attending an event with Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) representatives. Council has applied for a Disaster Ready Fund grant through the QRA.

“While Council previously has relayed the importance of this project to the higher levels of government, I am determined to highlight how critical external funding remains to supporting this work, which was mandated by the State Government.”

The Mayor said the Council will take every opportunity to impress on State and Federal counterparts how crucial external funding is to ensure the full cost burden is not passed to ratepayers.

“Without grant support, there is no option other than through debt funding from the Queensland Treasury Corporation.”

“This scenario would take Council to its maximum borrowing capacity and negatively affect our financial sustainability. We would much prefer to avoid this situation which would also reduce Council’s ability to withstand other financial disruptions.

“Despite all our careful financial planning, Council cannot carry the full cost of the Cressbrook Dam project singlehandedly without also deferring planning and delivery of other major projects and potentially a review into the range and levels of essential local government services that are required to support a growing Region.

“This underlines why securing government grants for the largest capital project undertaken by Council is our highest Budget priority.”

The project is required because of the Queensland Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water’s guidelines relating to acceptable flood capacity modelling under an As Low as Reasonably Practicable (ALARP) risk-based approach.

The proposed works will widen the dam spillway to increase flood resilience and protect landholders downstream in the Somerset Regional Council area (Cressbrook Creek, including Toogoolawah).

Mayor McDonald said Council was progressing with work on the business case which is scheduled to be presented to the State Government in mid to late June.

He said project construction work was expected to start in the second half of the year.

To view the documents, please visit, www.tr.qld.gov.au/advocacy.

Latest Articles