Thursday, February 22, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

In The Know With Bowen Chamber

By Paul Gellatly

At last week’s Bowen Chamber of Commerce meeting, Sean Brown, CEO of Bowen Pipeline Company, outlined his vision for a $600 million, 115km pipeline from the Burdekin to Bowen, using on-site extracted HDPE plastic pipeline yielding a 45 per cent cost saving and a five-million km reduction in B-double truck movements.

The pipe is to be extruded in 100m lengths and laid in a cutting that follows an old stock route for much of the way, which will simplify the approvals process. It will end at the Don River and will have 72 branches, many going to agriculture, which will ensure that the growing season can be extended from eight months a year to the entire year, and additional job certainty for farm workers. It will also allow opening up of a 400,000ha area south of Home Hill to high-value cropping.

BPC is in consultation with Sunwater to take a minimum of 80,000ML a year from the Burdekin dam total of 195,000ML available, providing a boost for agriculture, aquaculture, construction and others. The Burdekin water could also be used to top up Bowen's supply from Proserpine when needed.

Mr Brown said the company was seeking equity funding for the project, based on a model that he said aligned with industry expectations and timetables.

Another beneficiary could be the proposed HyNQ North Queensland Clean Energy hub, where water could be supplied for hydrogen production.

Mr Brown said the Federal Government had contributed $5 million to advance the business case, which was to be lodged in the next few weeks. He acknowledged the support of state ministers for agriculture, Mark Furner, and water, Glenn Butcher, and local member Dale Last.

"We hope that the (state) ministers will decide the project before the election," he said.

"We should be ready to start 12 months after that."

The meeting also farewelled Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor, Cr Julie Hall, who is retiring ahead of the March local government poll.

Cr Hall outlined some of her achievements during her term, which included expansion of the Proserpine airport terminal and increased flight services, and the Shute Harbour marine terminal, and the "tiny homes" project for older women.

Chamber chairman Bruce Hedditch paid tribute to Cr Hall for overriding the perceived alternating funding biases between north and south in the region, adding that: "You brought us all together."

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