Queensland Urban Utilities’ Board today announced that it is committed to lowering the cost of living for families in South East Queensland (SEQ) by freezing its residential water and sewerage prices for 2012-13. The Board’s decision to keep prices at current levels for another 12 months will provide welcome relief for households in Queensland Urban Utilities’ five service areas, including Brisbane and Ipswich.

Queensland Urban Utilities’ Chairperson, Jude Munro AO, said the price freeze is in line with its commitment to lowering the cost of living impact on families. “We have listened to our customers and understand the pressure the rising cost of living is putting on household budgets,” Ms Munro said. “We have demonstrated this through our track record of freezing prices this year and reducing water and sewerage bills last year for customers in four out of five of our service territories.

“Last year, price increases for Brisbane customers were below CPI. “This means Brisbane customers continue to pay the lowest water and sewerage charges in South East Queensland. “Queensland Urban Utilities has been able to freeze its water and sewerage prices this year because our internal efficiency program has delivered almost $63 million in budget reductions and recurring efficiencies in our first two years of operation.

“We are continuing to provide economies of scale, operational efficiencies and improved customer service. “This is the objective for which we were established two years ago when the water businesses of our five shareholding Councils were combined. “Despite freezing prices this year, we will continue to provide high quality water and sewerage services by investing $3.2 billion in a 10-year capital works program across our five service territories. “This includes a $319 million capital investment in 2012-13 with key projects such as the Woolloongabba and Bulimba Creek sewer upgrades in Brisbane, the Goodna sewage treatment plant upgrade and the Woogaroo Creek (Goodna) trunk sewer augmentation in Ipswich.

“Other significant projects will include the Fernvale sewage treatment plant upgrade in the Somerset area, the Lockyer Valley regional wastewater transfer scheme and the Western Services Area lagoons enhancements in the Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley,” she said.

Ms Munro said today’s announcement does not apply to the State Government’s bulk water charge which represents around one third of the average household water and sewerage bill, and is not controlled by Queensland Urban Utilities. “Queensland Urban Utilities acknowledges the new State Government’s decision to review bulk water prices announced in April as part of its commitment to lowering the cost of living for families in South East Queensland,” she said. Ms Munro said that while Queensland Urban Utilities is focused on freezing its prices, it understands that sometimes customers find it difficult to pay their bills. “We recently announced plans to extend support for our customers experiencing difficulty in paying their water and sewerage accounts through our financial hardship policy.

“Any customers experiencing this situation should contact us by telephoning 13 26 57 and we can discuss payment options,’’ she said. Ms Munro said Queensland Urban Utilities’ charges for non-residential customers will rise in 2012-13 by 1.3% per cent, in line with CPI. Charges for trade waste* are separate to this announcement and are available at http://www.urbanutilities.com.au//Your_business/Trade_waste/2012- 13_Charges_and_categories/

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