Australia's largest transmission project is one step closer after it was announced this week that the Queensland government would donate $1.3 billion to advance construction of the CopperString project.
The funding will go towards securing easements, advancing the construction of the $5 billion project and ensuring the project meets its construction start-date of mid-2024.
The project is expected to be a milestone towards unlocking the North West Minerals Province, and the renewable energy potential of North Queensland.
"This is a significant step forward to allow Powerlink to get started on this game-changing project," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
"CopperString 2032 is the largest ever economic development project in North Queensland, and the largest expansion to the power grid in Australia.
"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.
"I am excited about the progress we have made so far in planning and designing this project. This funding allows the project to move into the construction phase."
The project is expected to create over 100 permanent jobs, procure transmission equipment, enable the delivery of all site investigations, and advance site development works, including camps and access works.
Publicly-owned energy cooperation Powerlink will work alongside construction partners UGL and CPB, to undertake detailed design and engineering and environmental assessments.
Tenders will also be issued to North Queensland companies, with more than 40 works packages released for Expression of Interest.
The packages cover a range of activities and services including engineering, construction, environmental management, logistics, camp construction, haulage and communications.
The CopperString 2032 project is expected to provide infrastructure to connect the North West to super-fast internet speeds with early works beginning immediately.
Communities along the Flinders Highway will get early access to super-fast broadband by next year.
The project includes a 500 kilovolt (kV) transmission line from just south of Townsville to Hughenden, 330kV transmission line from Hughenden to Cloncurry, a 220kV transmission line from Cloncurry to Mount Isa, and up to six new substation sites.
Treasurer Cameron Dick said the funding is an investment into the future of the region, and it will deliver "jobs, growth and innovation".
"We are backing this project because we believe in the vision and the value it will create for North Queenslanders, now and for decades to come," he said.
Powerlink Chief Executive Paul Simshauser said the funding was a vital step towards getting the "necessary planning, design and environmental approvals underway".
"We also want to see the people of North and North West Queensland get involved in this project, as it is a project that will shape their region for generations to come," he 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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