New depot and substation upgrade powers Whitsundays recovery

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement The Honourable Mick de Brenni

The Palaszczuk Government will bring forward a $24 million upgrade of the Cannonvale substation as the local Ergon Energy crew prepares to relocate to a new depot closer to the Airlie Beach tourism hub.

Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said it was important to give the community confidence in the network’s resilience after an unpredictable series of recent outages and the impacts of COVID-19 on local operators and households.

“The Cannonvale substation supplies electricity to more than 6,000 customers, including the key tourism precinct of Airlie Beach,” Mr de Brenni said.

“While a lot of work has been done to reduce the risk of further outages since December, bringing forward the major upgrade will ensure the region continues to regain confidence following the loss of international tourism.

“Because this significant investment was already in the pipeline, planning is well under way and construction can be phased to minimise disruption to the community.

“Locals can rest assured there is plenty of capacity in the network to meet demand now and into the future.”

Since Cyclone Debbie left a trail of destruction across the Whitsunday region in March 2017, the Palaszczuk Government has continued to invest in the safety and reliability of the network, including construction of the $5.2 million Ergon Energy depot in Cannonvale.

After their Proserpine depot was badly damaged in Cyclone Debbie, Ergon’s 25-strong Whitsunday crew are happy to have a permanent home base.

“They’ll be closer to more densely-populated and growing residential areas, as well as the popular tourist spots around Airlie Beach and the islands,” Mr de Brenni said.

“The sooner crews can find faults, the sooner they can fix them, which is particularly important for those local tourism operators who rely on Ergon to keep the lights on.

“This facility really sets Ergon up for the future with modern workspaces, a trades workshop, improved access for heavy vehicles and wash-down facilities, which are also critical for reducing biosecurity risks when you’re working in nearby farming areas.

“Ergon will continue to store poles and wires at the Proserpine site, which can also be used as an alternative staging area when we’re responding to severe weather events.

“While we hope to never face the likes of Cyclone Debbie again, Ergon are ready to support the Whitsunday community through whatever Mother Nature throws their way.”

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