A cable built under the North Queensland seabed could cost more than $500 million to fix before being restored, new costings have revealed.
Key points: Cable, a project to connect the North Queensland aquifer and the Southern Ocean
It was built under current infrastructure and will not be dismantled or replaced
The estimated cost of $50 million to replace the cables
The project — known as LJY2 — had already failed to get the approval needed from the federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, who has not yet been re-elected.
But now it looks set to go ahead with the project to build undersea internet cable between the aquifer and the ocean after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull agreed to support it.
The project will be built in two parts, one through the aquifer and another through the Southern Ocean.
It will connect the aquifer to the seabed via tunnels, using a series of copper cables.
It has been funded by a $60 million grant to South East Queensland바카라 University and was originally being planned to be built through two separate tunnels to connect the aquifer to the seabed under a section of the Great Barrier Reef.
However, the project is now expected to be completed and the second section is expected to cost over $50 million to replace and maintain — compared to $4 million to pay for the first.
According to the government’s final costings it will cost the government between $50 and $60 million to replace the entire aquifer cable.
Mr Hunt has said he will provide a ministerial review «when I’m able to do it again».
He has said if the aquifer is damaged at any point, then funding from the government’s existing Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility can be used.
That could be a year or more into the project.
Labor has criticised the government for not working out a plan to cover any cost overruns.
Labor transport spokesman Christopher Pyne said an international court had ruled to put the project on hold «in the best interest of the country».
«For a government that talks about how it wants to attract international investment, it now turns out that this is going to cost money to maintain,» Mr Pyne said.
Mr Pyne said the plan was «unbelievably stupid».
But Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the cost breakdowns were «outrageous».
«We knew that the aq