7 November 2023

Palaszczuk government invest $1.3 billion to advance construction on CopperString 2032 project

| James Day
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A row of three power line structures standing against a sky at dawn.

“This is a landmark investment in the future of North and North West Queensland, delivering jobs, growth and innovation for the region,” Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick said. Photo: File.

The largest transmission project in Australia is set to begin construction midway through next year thanks to the Queensland Government’s recent investment of $1.3 billion.

CopperString 2032 is expected to connect Queensland’s North West Minerals Prince (NWMP) to the National Electricity Market by 2029 with its $5 billion budget.

Building the project is the state government-owned electricity transmission system operator Powerlink, alongside a joint venture between contractors UGL and CPB.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the “game-changing project” will also unlock the renewable energy potential of the state’s north, and provide communities there with super-fast internet speeds.

“CopperString 2032 is the largest ever economic development project in North Queensland, and the largest expansion to the power grid in Australia,” Premier Palaszczuk said.

“We are proud to invest in this historic project, which will connect $500 billion in critical minerals with the largest renewable energy zone on the east coast of Australia unlocking the next mining boom and jobs across the North West Minerals Province and North Queensland.”

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The government’s package will enable builders to make detailed design, engineering and environmental assessments, securing the easements for the construction of over 1000 km of transmission lines. Some 100 permanent jobs will also be established and tasked with helping the project acquire transmission equipment and deliver all site investigations and development works.

Including this recent investment, more than 40 works packages have been opened for Expressions of Interest from local North Queensland companies. The hope is they will cover activities and services across engineering, construction, environmental management, logistics, camp construction, haulage and communications for the project.

“This funding is a vital step to get the necessary planning, design and environmental approvals underway on the project,” Powerlink chief executive Paul Simshauser said.

“We look forward to working closely with our construction partners, local suppliers and communities to make this project a reality and deliver long-term benefits for North Queensland.”

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According to the government, by next year communities along the Flinders Highway will be receiving early access to super-fast broadband.

Minister for Resources and Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the project will be made in compliance with its Buy Queensland procurement policy, so more of the investment is pumped throughout North Queensland’s regional economy.

“Building this landmark infrastructure should be done the same way we built the stadium – by North Queenslanders, for North Queenslanders.”

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