Treasurer calls on BCC to come clean on water windfall

Treasurer Andrew Fraser has called on Brisbane City Council to come clean to the people of Brisbane about their plans to reap financial benefits from increases to ratepayer water charges.

Mr Fraser said Council has been hiding the details of what they are doing with increasing water charges and it’s time for them to tell residents exactly what they are being charged by council, and the dividends and other payments they council will be taking in return.
“The new council-owned water businesses yesterday announced a $107 increase in the average water bill for Brisbane residents.
“Only $44 of that amount is due to increases in State bulk water charges. The remaining $63 goes to council-owned water businesses who deliver their dividends and payments back to council.
“We’ve been upfront about bulk water charges and the fact that every single cent of this charge goes back into our $7 billion investment in the water grid.
“This investment has delivered a level of water security that has been declared by Infrastructure Australia as unmatched by any other State in Australia. We have made this investment to ensure South East Queensland is drought-proofed for the future.
“We’ve been completely transparent about our water reforms in Queensland.
“The questions that remain unanswered lay squarely at the feet of council.”

 

Mr Fraser said what residents still don’t know is:
– What will they be paying to council for water in 2010/11? Brisbane City Council hasn’t told them yet.
– Will Brisbane City Council admit what dividends and other payments they will take for Queensland Urban Utilities this year?
“Gold Coast City Council Budget Papers reveal $94 million in taxes and dividends will be taken by Council from their water business this year.
“Brisbane City Council’s papers don’t provide this information for ratepayers.

 

“It’s time they came clean on what benefits they will receive, and owned up to the fact that the councils set the water price and they are increasing their water price.
“Mr Fraser said the State Government announced the 10 year price path for bulk water two years ago.
“We have also increased the South East Qld Pensioner Water Subsidy Scheme from $70 to a $100 rebate from July 1 this year.

 

“Moreton Bay Regional Council have announced rebates to ease the pressure on residents who are faced with significant price rises to cover investment in local water infrastructure.
“They’ ve been upfront about these charges, and what they’re doing to help reduce the impact.
“The final question for Brisbane City Council is will they provide a new subsidy for their residents to ease the pressure of the increases they have set, given the expected revenue they will receive in dividends and other payments?”

 

“It’s time for Brisbane City Council to start telling the truth about water and take some responsibility for its own budget decisions.”

 

Treasurer and Minister for Employment and Economic Development
The Honourable Andrew Fraser
29/06/2010

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