STATEMENT FROM NICK DAMETTO MP – PORT HINCHINBROOK UPDATE
14 July 2023
On the 22nd of June, the Cassowary Coast Regional Council (Council) held a Cardwell Major Projects Update meeting for residents in Cardwell. I was grateful for the opportunity to attend and speak at the meeting.
The purpose of this statement is to highlight and disperse some of the more prominent information that was provided at that meeting that relates specifically to Port Hinchinbrook. The information below follows on from my previous Port Hinchinbrook update dated 31 March 2023.
SEWERAGE TREATMENT PLANT (STP)
In 2022, Council secured a total of $12.3 million of State and Federal funding for the design and construction of the STP. A pretender estimate of $8.5 million indicated that the project would be well and truly funded however market conditions have resulted in hefty increases which will now see the cost of this project extend well beyond that.
At the most recent Council meeting, Council accepted a negotiated tender amount from Haslin Constructions for a maximum of $15.3 million for the construction of the STP. That leaves a shortfall of approximately $7 million dollars.
Additional funding will need to be sought from the State Government to fund the balance of the project. I am working closely with Council to lobby the Department of State Development and Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, and I am hopeful that together we will reach a successful outcome. So far, the State Government has been supportive with the normalisation of Port Hinchinbrook, and we are optimistic that this strong working relationship will continue as we work through the final details of the STP project.
The construction timeframe for this project is estimated to be 18 months from the construction start date.
Resolving Port Hinchinbrook’s streetlighting is another item that forms part of the normalisation process.
We have been made aware that the streetlights within the Port Hinchinbrook area are not Ergon Energy assets, they were private infrastructure installed by Keith Williams which do not meet current electrical standards. Council is working with Ergon Energy to develop a strategy to restore streetlighting within the development. Options may include Ergon Energy taking over the lighting infrastructure or Council developing a metering strategy and operating the lights themselves. Either way, it has been identified that the lighting infrastructure will require significant upgrades and part of my discussions with the Deputy Premier and also the Energy Minister, will be to explore funding opportunities that could help pay for these necessary upgrades.
EMERGENCY DREDGING OF ONE MILE CREEK
The dredging of One Mile Creek is progressing. Studies have determined that mechanical dredging is the only way that this can be achieved within the current budget and environmental constraints, with approximately, 60,000 m3 of material needing to be removed from the channel.
SMEC Australia and Water Technology have been engaged to undertake studies that included an examination of the mud contents in One Mile Creek as well as an Options Analysis for the most suitable location to dispose of the dredge spoil. Currently, the centre dredge spoil ponds located on Lot 170 is the most ideal location for the dredge spoil however some rectification works will need to be completed before new spoil can be deposited in this area.
Officers from the Department of Environment and Science (DES) have been involved throughout the process of these studies and are well informed of the facts regarding this important project. Having DES involved at such an early stage has been a proactive measure that will ensure that when the time comes for Council to apply for the necessary environmental authorities (EAs), that process will be as straight forward as possible.
A timeline provided by Council appears below and is currently on schedule. It is expected that Council will finalise and select a site for the disposal of dredge spoil in the upcoming July council meeting. Following that, a draft EA package will be prepared and submitted to DES.
I will spend much of my time over the coming months advocating for further funding from the State and Federal Governments on behalf of Hinchinbrook residents, and the Council, that will see the above projects completed without adding further financial burden to Port Hinchinbrook ratepayers. I am committed as ever to working with Council and all stakeholders and once further information becomes available, I will endeavour to get that information out to the community.
Nick Dametto MP
Member for Hinchinbrook