Media Release: Documents Reveal Major Haughton Pipeline Cost Blowout

Share This Post

4 July 2024

Documents Reveal Major Haughton Pipeline Cost Blowout

Herbert MP Phillip Thompson has revealed the cost of the Haughton Pipeline Stage 2 project has blown out from an initial budget of $179.6M to more than $420M.
In a speech to Federal Parliament this morning, Phillip Thompson also revealed the documents confirmed the blowout was due to delays as a result of political games from Labor.
“Two weeks ago, I wrote to Townsville’s Acting Mayor and former Team Hill Councillor Paul Jacob to provide me an urgent briefing on the project,” he told the House.
“The silence has been deafening – with not even a mention in the Council Budget last week.
“Several whistle-blowers from Townsville City Council have now taken matters in their own hands and contacted me with information.
“It includes evidence of a Council document which shows our community has been lied to.
“The information provided to me shows a project cost increase from $179.6M to over $420M – more than 133 per cent – as well as a project completion blowout of more than four years.”

Phillip Thompson said savings weren’t realised because of the Labor-led council and State Labor Government’s refusal to accept the federal funding.
“One of the key commitments I made before being elected to this House was $200 million in funding for the Haughton Pipeline Stage 2,” he said.
“That funding was contingent on a business case- something that was publicly ridiculed by then Mayor Jenny Hill, her Labor Team Hill Councillors, the three Townsville based State Labor MPs and the Labor State Government.
“Building Stage 2 immediately after Stage 1 was supposed to save tens of millions of dollars.
“Unfortunately, Labor Mayor Jenny Hill and the State Labor Government decided to politick and refused to accept the Federal funding – based on a lie about the funding’s potential effect on Queensland’s GST allocation.
“They had a bells and whistles press conference to announce they’d fund the project without the Federal funds.
“12 months later it was announced that disastrous decision had led to lengthy delays and a $79 million cost blowout – to be footed by Townsville ratepayers.
“The key reason for this disgrace is identified as the refusal from Team Labor to accept the Federal funding when it was offered.
“Adding further insult to injury, I also understand a costly consultant has now been on the books for almost a year to identify ways to mop up Labor’s disastrous mess – which includes putting out the begging bowl to the Queensland and Federal Governments for an additional $146 million.
“I urgently call on the Townsville City Councillors, State Labor MPs and State Labor Government to explain to the people of Townsville why they should not resign immediately, and a full investigation be conducted.”
Project Timeline:

  • 2015 – Water restrictions begin in Townsville after Ross River Dam drops dangerously low
  • 2016 – water security taskforce recommends new pipeline from Ross River Dam to Burdekin Dam
  • 2017 – Haughton Pipeline Stage 1 receives State funding support (completed in 2020 but unused to this day)
  • 2018 – Coalition Government commits $200M for Haughton Pipeline Stage 2 subject to business case
  • 2020 – State Labor Government rejects federal funding and funds $195M itself.
  • 2021 – Announcement of $79M cost blowout to be borne by Townsville ratepayers
  • 2024 – Council document reveals cost blowout of $179.6M to over $420M – more than 133 per cent – as well as a project completion blowout of more than four years


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best