State Government passes buck yet again

COUNCIL OF MAYORS MEDIA RELEASE

THE Queensland Government are at it again, trying to deceive the public by suggesting that Councils are responsible for increases in water charges to households, according to the Council of Mayors (SEQ) and the LGAQ.

LGAQ CEO Greg Hallam called on the State Government to freeze bulk water charges and return water assets to Councils. “South East Queensland Councils are totally opposed to the State Government’s changes. Let’s end this mess that has been created by the State Government and hand back control of water to councils,” Mr Hallam said.

“If that were to happen and the state froze the cost of bulk water, then Councils would be able to keep water price increases low.

“The State Government took away the right of Councils to set water prices on July 1. This is just a diversionary tactic to take the spotlight away from the fact that they are trebling bulk water prices over ten years.” Council of Mayors (SEQ) Chairman Campbell Newman said Councils did not have any say on water prices and until the State Government put a freeze on bulk water prices, households and businesses will continue to be hit with price hikes.

Cr Newman pointed to a media release (attached) from former Queensland Water Commissioner Elizabeth Nosworthy (9 March 2007), which said that the cost of water would rise significantly for households and businesses under the State Government’s 10 year price path for bulk water.

“This proves the State Government set these price hikes three years ago, but now they’re hitting people in the hip pocket the State is trying to push the blame onto Councils. “Let’s be clear – along with electricity, petrol and registration the rising cost of water for SEQ residents is a direct result of State Government actions.

“The State Government is directly responsible for the water price hikes because they set these exorbitant bulk water charges and scrapped their 40 per cent subsidy on new water infrastructure which will add around $80 million in costs for new pipes,” Cr Newman said.

“For example, a Brisbane City household using around 200 kilolitres per year, their water bill (excluding waste water) will rise in 2010-11 by $74, of which $60 (over 80 per cent) is because of State bulk water price rises.”

Cr Newman said one million litres of bulk water used to cost $628 two years ago, but the State Government had increased the cost to $1409 this year, and had foreshadowed another increase to $1864 by 2012/13 and $2755 by the year 2017.

“The costs are there on the Queensland Water Commission’s website for anyone to see, although I note they have removed the other table which had the cost of how much households would pay, probably because it was so scary,” he said.

Council of Mayors (SEQ) Pty Ltd
T (07) 3040 3473 M 0438 730 643

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