Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe has announced that the Palaszczuk Government has today offered the Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council a package of support and assistance.
“Recognising the critical financial situation and a request for further assistance from the Mayor and Council, the Department has begun the process of appointing advisors to assist the Council,” he said.
“This will consist of a financial controller, and a governance advisor. Assistance will also be provided by the Department to Council with respect to its infrastructure needs.
“The Department of Local Government has been working with the Palm Island Council for months to assist with concerns raised, especially regarding infrastructure.
“Over the last few months the Department has also been working with engineering consultants to compile asset condition reports for the islands water treatment plant (WTP), wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and raw water network.”
The reports, which make recommendations about infrastructure works, maintenance, processes and resourcing matters, will be provided to Council in full.
The Department has identified six priority infrastructure projects to be delivered over the coming months:
- Installation of a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system to the WTP
- Internal clean, roof replacement and vermin proof the 4.5ML main drinking water storage reservoir
- Decommission two undersized water treatment plant reservoirs and replace with a large 3ML treated water tank to increase capacity of treated water storage
- Install additional backwash and sludge tanks and pump
- New raw water line from Solomon Dam to WTP
- New raw water line from WTP to main reservoir
The Department will work with Council, the financial controller, states agencies and the Commonwealth, to confirm project priorities and how existing funding arrangements available to Council can be used to deliver these projects.
The engineering reports also identified maintenance and operational procedures for the WTP and WWTP need addressing – the infrastructure adviser will assist in addressing these recommendations.
Mr Hinchliffe said the measures would go a long way to ensure an ongoing safe drinking water supply on the island, and stability within council and the broader community.
“This assistance package is being provided at the request of Council with the best interests of the Palm Island community at its core,” he said.
“The Member for Townsville Scott Stewart and Palm island Mayor Alf Lacey united in support of the package, which is all about serving the best interests of the Palm Island community.”
Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the support package was an important step forward for the Palm Island community.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to supporting Council so that it can continue to serve the needs of the local community,” he said.
“The extra support we’re providing has been welcomed by Council and marks a significant increase in State Government assistance.
“I’ll continue to advocate on behalf of Palm Island residents to ensure they get the services they deserve.”
Mayor Lacey said: “We’ve appreciated the help from the Department so far and look forward to this partnership deepening to address the needs of our community.
“The whole Council welcomes this assistance.”