$1 billion infrastructure asset replacement program over the next decade

Date published: 28 January 2021

Townsville City Council will spend close to $1 billion over the next decade replacing and upgrading existing infrastructure assets across the city that are approaching the end of their operational life.

Mayor Jenny Hill said the massive investment, which is on top of the capital works program for new infrastructure, would ensure Council could continue to deliver vital services to the ever-growing city as well as enhance the region’s liveability.

“Since it was founded in 1865, Townsville has grown into the modern, vibrant city it is today with a population approaching 200,000 people,” Cr Hill said.

“As the city has grown, successive councils have invested significantly in infrastructure such as roads, stormwater, water supply and sewerage collection and treatment.

“In just the past few years Council has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the Mount St John wastewater treatment plant and Cleveland Bay purification plant to ensure that wastewater is treated in accordance with legislation and in an environmentally sustainable manner.

“Infrastructure assets have an operational life and it is best-practice to plan and budget for their replacement as they approach end of operational life.

“Council has endorsed new ISO55000-aligned strategic asset management initiatives to manage the infrastructure assets by balancing risk, cost and performance in service delivery to the community.

“Over the past two years, Council officers have developed a comprehensive plan to monitor the performance and replace and upgrade infrastructure assets across the city that are approaching the end of their operational life.

“The implementation of this plan will see close to $1 billion dollars invested in replacing and upgrading these infrastructure assets across the city in the next decade.”

Deputy Mayor and Infrastructure Services Committee chairperson Mark Molachino said the recent upgrade of utilities in the central business district demonstrated Council’s commitment to proper asset management.

“The infrastructure assets in the CBD were at the end of their operational life and Council took action to replace them, investing $50 million,” Cr Molachino said.

“We’re now looking to the suburbs. As Townsville has grown and new suburbs have been established, water supply and sewerage collection infrastructure has been installed.

“Now it is time for Council to go back and replace or upgrade these infrastructure assets.

“Importantly, this work will provide stimulus for the local economy. It means local jobs and opportunities for local businesses to supply material and equipment to Council.”

Council Governance and Business Services Committee chairperson Kurt Rehbein said the infrastructure replacement and upgrade program would be funded through normal budget processes as well in partnership with the state and federal governments.

“As is normal practice, Council officers will continue to work to identify efficiencies and savings where possible without impacting service delivery, with these savings invested back into this asset management program,” Cr Rehbein said.