Mayors reject State’s water plans


The South East Queensland Council of Mayors has rejected the State Government’s proposal to take control of water pricing due to lack of information.

The stand comes after months of blame shifting about who and what is responsible for Queensland’s high water bills.

Michelle Thomas reports.

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The blame game continues between the State Government and local councils with hopes for water reform at a standstill.

Brisbane’s Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk, says councils won’t move forward while Premier Bligh and her government refuse to clarify water charges.

Cr Graham Quirk, Brisbane Lord Mayor: “Now that’s just secretive, it’s deceptive, and the state government ought to come clean in regards to water pricing in South East Queensland.”

Since the State Government took control of water pricing three years ago, Brisbane’s water bills have increased 43 per cent, with the average household bill rising from around $800, to approximately $1,100 this year.

The main driver in soaring water prices is bulk water, which has doubled in price since 2008, and is set to double again in the next few years.

Queensland Mayors are calling for more control over bulk water prices.

Cr Bob Abbot, Sunshine Coast Regional Council Mayor: “The bulk price remains the same, not one dollar cheaper, we buy it at that price and resell it with our arms tied behind our back, with a cap on the retail price.”

The proposed retail price cap on water – while limiting residents’ bills – will mean councils can only charge so much for water. They claim this will impact community projects and infrastructure that the sale of water normally funds.

Michelle Thomas, QUT News.