Mayor Jenny Hill has welcomed Herbert MP Phillip Thompson’s commitment today (3 August) that the $195 million in Australian Government funding previously earmarked for the Haughton pipeline stage two will remain in Townsville.
When asked on ABC North Queensland what will happen to the Australian Government funding now it will no longer be spent on the pipeline, Mr Thompson said, “It stays in Townsville” and “the $195 million will be allocated to Townsville projects.”
“I will write to Mr Thompson today to start the dialogue on how this funding could be spent,” Cr Hill said.
“At a time when the Townsville community is hurting because of the COVID-19 global pandemic, this funding could provide a real shot in the arm to our recovery efforts.
“However, we cannot afford to wait 12 months for this funding to materialise. The community needs it now.”
Cr Hill said TaskforceNQ, of which Mr Thompson is a member, had already identified jobs-generating, shovel-ready projects that could be funded by the Australian Government.
These included the development of the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct into a turn-key site ready for use by private enterprise, an upgrade to the Cleveland Bay Purification Plant and a number of health and social programs.
The funding must remain separate to the funding already allocated to, but remaining unspent, for Townsville’s continuing recovery from the unprecedented monsoon of February 2019.
“Many recovery projects have been deemed ineligible for funding under Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements, which means the ratepayers will have to shoulder the costs,” she said.
“As a member of the TaskforceNQ steering committee, Mr Thompson knows what projects have been identified by our working groups.
“I look forward to working constructively with him to ensure this funding is directed at projects which will get the most bang for our buck for the Townsville community.”