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Council Connections - Mayor's Message 30 October 2019

30th October 2019

Hinchinbrook Automatic Water Meter Reading Project

Council has accepted the quotation of Taggle Systems Pty Ltd in the sum of $1,154,182.00 for the installation of automatic water metering systems throughout the reticulated areas of the Shire. Works are expected to commence in the New Year and the system will have a life span of 10-15 years.

The taggle system allows property owners to monitor their own water usage by smart phone or other digital device and also allows Council to observe usage occurring each day for better monitoring of leaks in the system. With ageing water infrastructure beyond the meter, a significant number of property owners are experiencing quite costly water leaks, and this system will enable those hidden water leaks to be detected quite quickly and before big bills are actually run up.

The Hinchinbrook Automatic Water Meter Reading Project is a joint initiative of the Hinchinbrook Shire Council and the Queensland Government.

Highway bypass update

An update on the Queensland Government’s intentions regarding the proposed Ingham highway bypass.

While the preferred road corridor alignment has been determined and approved, no planning has been undertaken since 2011 to progress the matter. Both the Australian and Queensland Governments have reaffirmed their commitment to the project through confirmation of $48 million under the Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program 2018-2022 for further study and design.

Our Council has expressed its opposition to current design plans and has asked for further consultation prior to any further action on the proposal.

The further studies proposed will include economic and social impacts on local and regional businesses.

Shire Re-valuations

Council has been informed by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines that a valuation review will be undertaken of the Hinchinbrook Local Government area in 2020, effective as at 30 June 2020.

As you are aware, valuations of property are used in Queensland for Local Government rating purposes.

Grain Drying and Storage Facilities

Council’s intention to introduce opportunity for new crops in the Herbert River district received a major boost with confirmation that Council’s Expression of Interest for establishment of grain drying and storage facilities in Ingham has been successful.

The recently concluded Alternative Cropping Study revealed that crops such as peanuts, soy, mungs and dryland rice could be commercially grown in the Herbert. Constraints however included high moisture content of product on harvest and high transport costs associated in moving harvested products to market.

Those impediments can be eliminated through provision of drying and silo storage facilities. By having these facilities in Ingham, farmers can bring their smaller truck loads to town for processing and storage, rather than travel to the Burdekin or Tablelands, which is not cost effective for a few tonne. The storage facilities will enable aggregation of multiple farm loads, sufficient for B double or greater capacity loads, and the transport logistics then become quite reasonable and cost effective.

We can run with this model as we nurture production of alternate product in the district with a long term plan of establishing our own processing plants in the district once scale and volume increase sufficiently.

It should be noted that funding has not yet been approved. Under the terms of the Queensland Government’s Rural Economic Development Grant Scheme, proponents are called upon to submit their ideas and proposals to the State Government as an Expression of Interest. The State Government then assesses the proposals and invites successful proponents of the EOI process to lodge an application for the funding by way of invitation.

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