Major Infrastructure Programme

Major Infrastructure Programme: improving the health of the people living in the Torres Strait region

The Major Infrastructure Programme (MIP) is the TSRA’s flagship environmental health infrastructure development initiative, funded and coordinated by the Australian Government, through the TSRA, in partnership with the Queensland Government’s Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning.

In 1996-97 the Queensland Government commissioned a study to identify the infrastructure required to improve the health of the Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people living in the Torres Strait region. The study identified that over the next ten years a capital investment of $318.13 million was required to provide basic infrastructure to improve community health. It also found that in excess of $100 million was required to address urgent health related infrastructure shortfalls.

In 1998, the Australian and Queensland Governments agreed that the health of Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people in the region would be improved through the development or upgrading of the following basic environmental health infrastructure:

  • water supply and treatment augmentation, reticulated sewerage and treatment
  • waste management, solid waste and waste disposal; and
  • sub-divisional development and essential services extensions, storm water and road drainage

Since this time the Australian and Queensland Governments have been working to address the region’s environmental health infrastructure needs and have invested more than $200 million transforming the communities of the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area of mainland Australia.

The MIP also provides opportunities for employment and training, building the skills of local council staff engaged in the delivery of projects and the ongoing capacity of the local construction industry.

The fifth stage of the MIP commenced in 2013 with projects scheduled for completion in December 2016. Current projects, funded under MIP Stage 5, can be seen in Table 1 below.

TSRA MIP Brochure

 Table 1: MIP 5 Projects 2013-2016
Community Project Council
Horn Island Wasaga Roads and Drainage Stage II Torres Shire Council
Northern Peninsula Area Design and Approvals for New Refuse Facility Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council
Northern Peninsula Area NPA Roads, Drainage and Sewerage Upgrades Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council

Badu

Water Main Replacements

Torres Strait Island Regional Council

Iama

Water Main Replacements

Torres Strait Island Regional Council

Erub

Water Main Replacements

Torres Strait Island Regional Council

Saibai

Pump station refurbishment & STP upgrade

Torres Strait Island Regional Council

Mer

Sewerage Upgrade and Renewal

Torres Strait Island Regional Council

Regional

SCADA telemetry upgrade including remote access

Torres Strait Island Regional Council

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the MIP?

The Major Infrastructure Programme (MIP) is the TSRA’s flagship environmental health infrastructure development initiative. The main objective of the MIP is to improve the health of Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people by providing appropriate and sustainable environmental health infrastructure.

[Back to Frequently Asked Questions]

When and why was the MIP developed?

Healthy living conditions obtained through access to adequate water, waste removal systems and housing are vital to the health of individuals and communities. For many years island communities of the Torres Strait lived without these basic facilities and as a result were experiencing adverse effects to both health and overall wellbeing.

The 1993 Torres Strait Health Strategy outlined how health problems in the region were being exacerbated by poor quality and quantity of water, sewerage and waste disposal systems. In 1997 the majority of Torres Strait Island communities still had no flushing toilets, sewerage systems, or reliable drinking water supply.

The MIP was established in 1998 to deliver improvements to environmental health infrastructure in communities throughout the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area of mainland Australia.

Table 2 below demonstrates the impact of environmental health factors on individual and community health.

Table 2: Matrix of environmental health factors and the diseases to which they contribute

Environmental Factor

Morbidity/Mortality Factor

Pneumonia

Upper Respiratory Tract Infection

Scabies

Streptococcal Skin Infection

Gastrointestinal Disease

Hepatitis

Trachoma

Inadequate water supply for drinking, bathing and washing

Poor sewerage disposal systems

    

 

Inadequate shelter

  

Infection in dogs

  

 

  

Excessive dust

   

  

Inadequate waste disposal mechanisms

Fly plagues

    

Overcrowding in houses

 

[Back to Frequently Asked Questions]

What type of infrastructure can be built with MIP funding?

The MIP funds the development of infrastructure that contributes to improved sanitation and health outcomes in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area. Examples of infrastructure built through the MIP include water treatment/desalination plants, sewerage treatment plants, waste management, housing subdivisions and service extensions, and improvements to drainage and roads for the purpose of reducing dust, stagnant water sources and mosquito borne diseases.

See more information in Table 3 below.

Table 3: Infrastructure to address environmental health factors
Infrastructure Scope Environmental Factor

Water supply and treatment augmentation

Provision of potable water (water for drinking, bathing and washing)

New or upgraded reticulated sewerage and treatment systems

Provides sewerage disposal systems and fly control

New fully serviced subdivision housing lots

Allows additional housing to provide adequate shelter and reduce overcrowding

Storm water drainage and surface drainage infrastructure

Provides a safer environment and adequate shelter by reducing flooding, water ponding and general disease control (eg. reduce mosquito breeding)

Upgraded and sealed internal roads

Dust reduction

Solid waste disposal facilities

Adequate waste disposal and fly control

Planning documentation (mapping, community infrastructure plans etc)

Planning to fund and manage MIP to best address all the environmental factors

[Back to Frequently Asked Questions]

What funding has been made available for the Programme?

Since 1998, over $208 million has been provided by the Australian and Queensland Governments towards the delivery of over 100 major environmental health infrastructure projects in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area. MIP Stage 5, which will run from 2013-2016, has a total budget of $23 million. A list of MIP 5 projects can be seen in Table 1 above. 

[Back to Frequently Asked Questions]

How is the Programme managed?

Governance and Finance

MIP funding is administered through a Memorandum of Understanding between the TSRA and the Queensland Government through theDepartment of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (DILGP, formally the Department of Local Government, Community Recovery and Resilience).

Technical Expertise and Programme Management

The MIP Technical Management Committee meets quarterly to review the programme of works and comprises at least one representative from each of the TSRA, and the Queensland Government represented by DILGP, the Torres Strait Island Regional Council, Torres Shire Council, Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council and the MIP Programme Manager.

Independent Review and Audit

The MIP has undergone several independent reviews in 2001, 2006, 2010 and 2015 (ongoing). In addition to annual independent financial audits of the Major infrastructure and Other Projects Trust Fund the MIP has also been reviewed by the Australian National Audit Office, most recently in 2013.

Each of these reviews has concluded that MIP is a highly successful programme which is supported by sound governance, management and delivery arrangements.

[Back to Frequently Asked Questions]

Who decides which infrastructure projects will be funded?

The MIP delivers improved environmental health infrastructure to communities located in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area.

At the beginning of each new stage of the MIP Local Government Councils (Torres Strait Island Regional Council, Torres Shire Council, and Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council) work together with the MIP Programme Manager, TSRA and Queensland Government Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (DILGP) to identify a list of regional priorities, according to the needs of their communities.

Candidate projects are prioritised according to criteria underpinned by National Aboriginal Health Strategy (NAHS) methodology, based on a key set of parameters relating to expected environmental health improvements and subsequent improvements to living conditions. The TSRA and DILGP then work to secure funding for those projects.

Candidate projects must demonstrate:

  • improvements to physical infrastructure and contribution to improved environmental health conditions
  • long term health benefits to the community
  • quality and/or completeness of infrastructure on completion of project
  • opportunities for local development (eg. through training, employment and the use of community resources), 'shovel' readiness, and council priorities
  • that they are appropriate for the location and sustainable

Most importantly, the assessment process identifies projects that address the primary objective of the MIP: to improve the health of people living in the Torres Strait.

[Back to Frequently Asked Questions]

Who constructs and who owns the finished asset?

All MIP assets are built in collaboration with the relevant grantee local government council. Where possible the council is engaged to undertake all or part of the construction works under the guidance of a qualified Project Manager. This in-house construction arrangement supports local skills development and council capacity to manage and run the completed asset. Once completed all assets constructed under MIP are owned and managed by the relevant local council.

[Back to Frequently Asked Questions]

[back to top]