La­bor still coy about cost to run de­sal plant

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - PAUL WE­STON

THE Tu­gun de­sali­na­tion plant has re­turned to “hot standby” mode, prompt­ing ques­tions about the cost of op­er­at­ing the $1.2 bil­lion fa­cil­ity.

LNP Cur­rumbin MP Jann Stuckey is fu­ri­ous af­ter the lat­est re­sponse to an­other ques­tion to the Gov­ern­ment about plant op­er­at­ing sched­ules and which lo­ca­tion re­ceived the re­cy­cled wa­ter.

The de­sali­na­tion plant has been branded a white ele­phant since be­ing built to drought­proof the Coast and the lat­est in­for­ma­tion con­firms its role as a back-up ser­vice.

Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter Dr An­thony Lyn­ham, in his re­sponse, said the plant pro­vided 365 me­gal­itres of wa­ter dur­ing the Molen­d­i­nar wa­ter treat­ment up­grade in Au­gust 2016 and op­er­ated for 15 days in 2017 dur­ing Cy­clone Deb­bie.

Pro­duc­tion at the de­sali­na­tion plant was ramped up again late last year for 26 days dur­ing main­te­nance work at the Mudgeer­aba plant, pro­duc­ing 594 me­gal­itres.

Be­tween May and Au­gust this year Tu­gun pro­duced 2904 me­gal­itres en­abling work to be un­der­taken at the Mount Crosby wa­ter treat­ment plant.

Dr Lyn­ham in his re­ply said he was “un­able to iden­tify spe­cific lo­ca­tions to which the wa­ter was trans­ported”.

Ms Stuckey told the Bul­letin: “In May of this year I asked a Ques­tion on No­tice re­gard­ing the ex­pense per me­gal­itre to op­er­ate the fa­cil­ity and was fobbed off with an an­swer that gave costs of con­tin­u­ous run­ning of the plant when we all know it is in ‘hot standby mode’ and only used as backup some­where else.”

The LNP in Gov­ern­ment dur­ing an Es­ti­mates hear­ing in 2013 es­ti­mated costs at $4881 per me­gal­itre at Tu­gun com­pared to $256 per me­gal­itre for SEQ dam wa­ter.

Ms Stuckey said Dr Lyn­ham had main­tained Tu­gun’s pro­duc­tion cost to be $800 per me­gal­itre which was a “mas­sive and ques­tion­able dif­fer­ence”.

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