Pipeline called a time waster in new analysis
Infrastructure Australia has called the Haughton Pipeline stage two a waste of time but two North Queensland MPs have said the project is vital for the future.
Federal MPs Phillip Thompson and George Christensen said the body did not make the final call on the project, and pledged the $195m election promise would go ahead.
An Infrastructure Australia statement this week said based on the business case presented to it for stage two, there was "no clear requirement for stage two works at this time".
It said stage one addressed Townsville's water supply issues and the body would not consider stage two a priority project.
The Haughton Pipeline project will run from the Haughton Pump Station to the Ross River Dam and top up water levels during periods of low rainfall.
Describing the body as "pencil pushers" and "bean counters", the North Queensland politicians said Infrastructure Australia did not consider the future needs of the community in its analysis.
Mr Thompson said the business case about the Haughton Pipeline said something similar but the federal government had decided to still go ahead to ensure Townsville's future water security.
"There is no question mark on this project," the Herbert MP said.
Dawson MP Mr Christensen said Infrastructure Australia did not understand the real world.
"These same clowns also said the Haughton River Bridge Project shouldn't go ahead but we went ahead with it anyway because it was something that needed to be done … for the safety of motorists and to create jobs," he said.
Mr Christensen said this kind of analysis called into question the need for bureaucratic bodies.
"If we listen to them all the time, there will be nothing but infrastructure going into Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane," he said.
"It is about time that they were pulled in and made to reform their processes because they absolutely and utterly are wrong when they are trying to nix projects that are required in North Queensland and I will be raising that with the deputy prime minister (Michael McCormack)."
Mr McCormack said Infrastructure Australia's evaluation was required for projects seeking more than $100 million in Australian Government funding.
Townsville Enterprise CEO Patricia O'Callaghan said Infrastructure Australia's decision not to consider the Haughton Pipeline a priority project showed how "disconnected" it was from North Queensland.
"We have long advocated for a restructure of how Infrastructure Australia assesses projects in the regions," Ms O'Callaghan said.
"There is no better time to do this than now, otherwise our region will continue to be starved of infrastructure when North Queensland can be a catalyst for the economic recovery of our nation."
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said while she respected the Infrastructure Australia report, the project was supported through the City Deal.
"The Water Security Task Force had federal as well as state representatives on it and they all signed off on the report supporting stage two of the Haughton Pipeline," she said.
Originally published as Pipeline called a time waster in new analysis