10 Years On and Tugun Desalination Plant still in Go Slow Mode

6 Mar 2019 3:21 PMJann Stuckey

Despite drinking water from the Tugun desalination plant being pumped into the water grid 10 years ago, member for Currumbin Jann Stuckey says the plant is still not fully utilised and is still costing taxpayers millions.

“In 2009 the first drinking water from the troubled and fault-ridden Tugun desalination was pumped into the water grid and it has been used infrequently ever since,” said Ms Stuckey.


“We have nothing to celebrate in the Currumbin electorate about this anniversary, and it really makes my blood boil when I remember the heartache and damage caused to people’s homes when it was being constructed.


“Labor rushed to build this facility which had ‘more episodes than Days of Our Lives’ at enormous expense to taxpayers and to local residents who bore the brunt of the disruption.


“To rub salt into a raw wound the desal plant was ‘mothballed’ as it wasn’t needed.


“Figures show the plant only operated for 20 days in 2016-17, and 26 days 2017-18. It is capable of producing over 125 megalitres per day yet we learn it is only being switched on once a fortnight for a flush through.


“The minister wouldn’t identify specific locations water is pumped to but admitted apart from the Gold Coast water goes to Ipswich, Logan and greater Brisbane.


“Put simply, the desal plant cost us our M1 upgrade a decade ago.


“And we are still paying a fortune for it as it costs about $15.2 million per year to run and since 2012, $7.5 million has been spent on capital expenditure – that’s a lot for a plant hardly used.


“Currently the Palaszczuk Government owe $583 million on the facility and have spent $244 million on interest only loans – which takes nothing off the principal amount.


“The Labor Government’s failed water grid cost Qld taxpayers around $7-8 billion because of their failure to build dams and other water projects much earlier, so to say it will shape south-east Queensland’s long-term water supply exposes the untruths told when the plant was being built.


“If Labor had spent this money on finishing the M1 to Tugun, like they have been promising for twenty years, Gold Coast residents would be getting much better bang for their buck and not be stuck in gridlock daily on the way to and from work.

“Labor have been in power for 20 of last 23 years – so don’t point the finger at the LNP when they left us drowning in debt and are doing so again!



Angie Bell 0439 794740