Pipeline case study ‘ money down drain’
HERBERT MP Cathy O’Toole says tendering a business case for the second stage of Townsville’s water pipeline is a “ludicrous” waste of funds.
Ms O’Toole has slammed moves by the Federal Government to next week open tenders for a study on Stage 2 of the Haughton Pipeline Duplication project, with a view to awarding a company “early next year”.
“I don’t think the Government has a clue about urgency,” she said. “If ( the study) takes too long the project will cost another $ 55 million because Stage 2 will not be done concurrently with Stage 1.”
Ms O’Toole said the $ 5 million allocated to the business case was a “complete waste” of money as the Government had already promised to fund Stage 2 regardless of its outcome.
“That is completely and utterly outrageous that the Government should say we want you to jump through this hoop, pay $ 5 million of taxpayer money but then it doesn’t matter what hoop you jump though because we will fund it anyway,” she said.
Ms O’Toole said Townsville City Council should have been asked to do the study as they already had all the information and expertise from their ongoing work on Stage 1.
Mayor Jenny Hill said the council was “best placed” to provide information for the business case.
“Council could have provided the information within a few weeks – saving significant amounts of time and money,” Cr Hill said. “There is a very small window to ensure the engineering and procurement processes are done in the correct sequence to ensure ( the $ 55 million in) savings are achieved. However, we do recognise and appreciate Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s commitment to fully fund Stage 2 of the pipeline.”
But LNP candidate for Herbert Phillip Thompson said he did not believe the council should do the study.
“I think the council is extremely biased to one side of politics, that was evidenced by the Mayor coming out and saying Labor was the only party that could deliver this without a cost blowout, which is completely false,” he said.
“I don’t think the council should be gifted the tender. They can apply through the process like everyone else.”
Mr Thompson urged local contractors to tender for the study, which he described as a “project plan” to determine the technical and monetary requirements of Stage 2.