PIPE DREAM: The $90M project will likely come to another standstill with the upcoming state election. Picture: contributed
PIPE DREAM: The $90M project will likely come to another standstill with the upcoming state election. Picture: contributed

ON HOLD: $90M pipeline project stalls

SOUTHERN Downs residents could be waiting a while for the Southern Pipeline project to get the green light, with debate continuing among local governments.

The $90-million pipeline would transfer water from Toowoomba and the wider Darling Downs to the Warwick area in an attempt to improve the Southern Downs region’s water security.

According to Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi, the potential development would be unable to progress until the State Government finalised its business case.

“As councillors, we’ve had no further brief since our meeting with them four or six weeks ago, so we’re just waiting on more information,” Cr Pennisi said.

“We need a detailed business case and accurate costings where council can sit around the table and form an opinion on it, but without that information it’s difficult.

“I’m not going to talk it up or talk it down, because I don’t know the full costs – not so much the cost of the pipeline, but what it will be to the ratepayer, who will have to fund it, and for how long.”

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With the current State Government to enter caretaker mode before the October election, Cr Pennisi doubted a decision would be made before results were finalised.

“During caretaker mode, the operational part of it will continue on, but there will likely be no decisions made from a government point of view,” Cr Pennisi said.

“They could make one prior to then, but it’s hard to say.”

The Toowoomba Regional Council earlier this week delivered the terms on which it would support the development, including measures to ensure the region’s own financial and water security would not be compromised.

Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio said several contingent factors remained.

“The whole Southern Pipeline has been a bit of a journey, but we’ll just have to see how it goes post the election,” Cr Antonio said.

“Of course, if it rains and dams fill, we’ll probably temporarily forget about it – hopefully not.”

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