Salt in the wound?
By William Cunniffe
The Facts on the Situation
In 2007 the State Government announced plans to develop a desalination plant on Victoria's south-east coast, near Wonthaggi. The project received Federal Government approval on March 20 and is due for completion in 2011.
With declining water reserves and drought conditions taking place, the Government has opted for a desalination plant as part of its plan to "drought proof" Melbourne. As desalination requires saltwater rather than fresh water, it will generate 150 billion litres of additional water each year - a third of Melbourne's annual water supply. It will be the largest plant of its kind in Australia.
Estimated to cost is more than $3 billion, the plant will be built and operated as a public-private partnership, or PPP. This means the Government will work in partnership with a company or group of companies (consortium) from the private sector.
An environment effects statement assessed the potential environmental impacts of the proposed development. Approval was given with some conditions.
The project is expected to create up to 4750 full-time equivalent jobs during construction, 150 full-time equivalent jobs during operation, $1 billion economic boost to Victoria during construction and increased spending in local areas by the construction workforce. The roads around the area will be upgraded and also a Fibre Optic Cable will be installed.