Time to move ahead on Eurong waste

A SEWERAGE scheme on Fraser Island remains a priority for the chief executive officer of the Fraser Coast council, more than four months after the project had to be placed on hold.

Andrew Brien said yesterday that the multi-million dollar Eurong scheme “needs to be done now”.

State Government cash worth $6.4 million was lost for the job in June when time ran out on a funding program approved in November 2006.

Andrew Brien put the loss down to a change in State Government budget guidelines. The Department of Infrastructure and Planning maintains that projects had to be completed within two years of approval date.

A spokesperson said that under local government funding program guidelines councils claimed 50 per cent of the approved funding once a project was 25 per cent complete and further payments were made to the councils as project milestones were met.

Mr Brien said it was usual for councils to seek and secure extensions.

The Eurong scheme was the biggest casualty of the June funding cull which left about 12 Fraser Coast projects without almost $13 million in approved funding.

Almost $37 million in lapsed funding statewide was returned to the government’s consolidated revenue fund.

“A lot of them (projects) have just gone. Without the State Government we have no way of pursuing those projects,” Mr Brien said.

“In some cases they are staged processes where you might do half now and half in 18 months time, so where the staging allowed us to we dropped those projects for the time being.”

About $1.2 million of approved funding was still available for the Maryborough CBD beautification when the funding cut happened.

“The beautification project was 50, 60, 70 per cent complete at the time the funding was withdrawn. What that then means is that the council was short and we had to fund the difference.”

It was the Eurong job that remained at the top of Mr Brien’s list yesterday despite Wide Bay Water inheriting the project following its May merger with Fraser Coast Water.

“We’re still worried about it, as is Wide Bay Water obviously,” Mr Brien said.

“At the end of the day Eurong is one that’s going to have to be done at some point in time, it’s just how we’re going to do it. It needs to be done. That’s the biggest challenge. There’s issues about water quality that need to be addressed and certainly Wide Bay Water is aware of those.

“There is a lot of money involved but it is also the fact that it is world heritage listed.

“We had just let the tender for the work to begin (when the funding ended). We had actually spent money to go through the whole tender process and then obviously the State Government decided to change their guidelines.

“We’ve had to negotiate with the individual contractor, the successful tender on that.”

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