Haughton Pipeline Project - Council update

Date published: 9 July 2024

Council has addressed the status of the Haughton Pipeline Stage 2 Project, in response to recent speculation surrounding the project.

Acting CEO Joe McCabe said Council has allocated $79 million to the project, including new funding of $45 million in its 2024/25 Budget and Operational Plan.

“Information regarding Council’s funding commitment has been publicly available since its announcement in 2021,” Mr McCabe said.

“In early 2023, it became apparent the Haughton Pipeline Stage 2 Project was forecasting to exceed the approved budget of $274 million, which is $195 million committed by the Queensland Government and $79 million committed by Council.”

Mr McCabe said, since that time, Council has been working with a specialist consultant to conduct an in-depth review of the project, specifically focusing on how to reduce the forecast cost to complete the project.

“The consultant identified several reasons for the cost increase to the project, with the single biggest contributor being the cost escalation associated with construction following the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr McCabe said.

Mr McCabe said a confidential update was presented to all Councillors, including Mayor Thompson, in Chambers on 17 May 2024 providing a full briefing on the current status of the Haughton Pipeline Stage 2 Project.

“To date, Councillors have been unable to publicly address the project status due to the confidential nature of the report provided to them,” Mr McCabe said.

“Council will complete its review, identify solutions and engage with State funding partners and other critical stakeholders to endeavour to ensure Council provides the community with a low-cost secure water supply via the Haughton Pipeline Project.”

The Haughton pipeline aims to achieve greater capacity to provide raw water into the Ross River Dam to “top up” water levels for the Townsville community and industry during periods of very low rainfall.

Mr McCabe said while Council is committed to water security for the community, Council is unable to contribute any further additional funds to the project above the $79 million.

The current forecast cost to complete the project is $420 million.