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Community & Business

2 November, 2022

TRC wants to discuss pipeline with Minister

Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) is seeking immediate discussions prior to making a decision on the State Government’s proposed Toowoomba to Warwick Pipeline project.

A drilling rig was used as part of preparatory works for the pipeline last year, between Felton Clifton Road and the railway line from Clifton to Nobby.

Mayor Paul Antonio said it was crucial to have a conversation with the State Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water, senior representatives of the State Government and the Southern Downs Regional Council to remove any ambiguity from all sides of the table.

“This is a massive decision for all of us which is why we’ve called for an urgent meeting to be held,” Mayor Antonio said.

 “I’ve already reached out to the Minister and am optimistic we can arrange a meeting as soon as possible on this matter.

 “While we know what our requirements are for the Toowoomba Region, the decision yesterday (26 October) from Southern Downs Regional Council has made it clear we need to gain further understanding of their requirements for this proposed pipeline. 

“We’re seeking to understand the intentions and implications of the details listed within the decision from Southern Downs.

“We have a good relationship with our neighbouring Council so it’s about coming together to get clarity before we make a final decision. 

“At the end of the day, we appreciate Southern Downs is seeking the best outcomes for their constituents and we will be doing the same thing for Toowoomba Regional Council. 

“There is no doubt there are positive opportunities for us from this proposed pipeline, such as connecting our southern towns to the Toowoomba Bulk Water Supply, however, there will be significant investment required so we need to get the best possible deal for our community. 

“It’s about ensuring our residents aren’t negatively impacted in any way.” 

At the Toowoomba Regional Council Special Meeting held on 26 October, Council made the following decision: 

That this matter be deferred to a future Special Meeting of Council, pending urgent discussions with the State Government Minister as a result of a relevant decision made by Southern Downs Regional Council today that, if accepted by the State, does not achieve the following principles in relation to the project:

1) The project must not adversely impact or worsen Toowoomba Regional Council’s water security position;

2) There  must  be  no adverse financial impacts on Toowoomba Regional Council as a result of the project;

3) That all parties to the transaction achieve an equal financial benefit.

In a report presented to the Special Meeting last week by Senior Engineer Toby Millikan and Manager Strategic Water Planning and Capital Delivery Jaek Passier, it was detailed how TRC engaged financial consultants AEC who have considered the financial implications of the engineering options assessment. 

“The findings show that the T2W (Toowoomba to Warwick) Pipeline will have a significant financial impact to TRC in whichever form the project takes,” the report said.

“These additional expenses incurred by TRC will be recovered though an appropriate access charge to SDRC to ensure that TRC is not financially disadvantaged. “

AEC presented four options that would be the best to consider:

Option 1: A base case scenario incorporating the infrastructure proposed in Water Vision 2071, a treated water pipeline to supply Cambooya, Greenmount, Nobby and Clifton, all future water treatment at Mt Kynoch WTP (water treatment plant) and no T2W Pipeline.

Option 2: The T2W Pipeline as proposed by the State Government, with WTPs at Cambooya, Greenmount, Nobby and Clifton, all future water treatment for Toowoomba at the Mt Kynoch WTP and raw water trunk infrastructure brought forward to facilitate SDRC demand.

Option 3: An optimised T2W Pipeline including a larger pipeline around Toowoomba to facilitate a Southern WTP, a Greenmount WTP and treated water pipelines to supply Cambooya, Greenmount, Nobby and Clifton, and raw water trunk infrastructure brought forward to facilitate SDRC demand.

Option 4: A scenario similar to Option 3, but without the T2W Pipeline. In this option, a new raw water main would be constructed around Toowoomba by TRC to supply a Southern WTP. A treated water pipeline would then be constructed to supply Cambooya, Greenmount, Nobby and Clifton.

The recommendation of the report presented to councillors included Option 3, as well as a larger pipeline around Toowoomba to facilitate a Southern Water Treatment Plant near Westbrook.

During the meeting, Cr Carol Taylor questioned the impact the proposed route would have, which mostly follows the railway line from Wyreema to Clifton.

Several councillors stressed the importance of the decision.

Some of the discussion between councillors was behind closed doors due to the confidentiality of attached documents.

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