SEQ bulk water prices highlight Government’s fight against rising cost of living


Seath Holswich MP, Member for Pine Rivers and Trevor Ruthenberg MP, Member for Kallangur have welcomed the Newman Government's decision to slash bulk water price increases.

The announcement of new bulk water prices came today from Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle that for south east Queensland (SEQ) from 1 July 2013, there will be an increase of less than a dollar a week for average households using 200 kilolitres of water a year.

Mr Holswich said the increase has been reduced by half because of actions taken by the Newman Government to reduce waste and duplication.

"The average increase in the cost of bulk water per SEQ household for 2013-14 would be $49, well below the $83 that would have been required without preventative action by the Newman Government", Mr Holswich said.

"Bulk water revenue pays for dams, treatment plants and the Gold Coast Desalination Plant which provides critical water supply in emergencies."

Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle said it was important to recognise that Seqwater did not make a profit and no returns were provided to the State.

"Even with this increase, the price paid for bulk water will not cover the cost of producing it, due to the debt from the former government," Mr McArdle said.

"This means that bulk water will continue to be sold at a loss of more than $400 million a year for the next five years, further accumulating debt.

"Reforms by the Newman Government could have reduced the bulk water price further, had the former Labor Government used more accurate water consumption forecasts in determining the bulk water price path."

Mr McArdle said the future price path implemented by the former Bligh Government included a $54 increase for 2013/2014, based on consumption forecasts of 200 litres per person per day.

"But with the actual consumption figures of around 155 litres per person per day (Seqwater Annual Report, 2012) the erroneous forecasts mean the real increase would have been $83."

Mr Ruthenberg said residents were fed up with excessive increases under Labor, but are still paying for their waste and mismanagement.

"Sadly, households in our area are paying for Labor's $7 billion debt from unbuilt dams, an unnecessary Recycled Water Treatment Plant and dams not connected to water supply," he said.

"The Newman Government is committed to tackling the rising cost of living and has provided a one-off $80 rebate to approximately 1.1 million SEQ households, through a direct reduction on their water bill in early 2013.

Mr Holswich said "The Government and Seqwater will continue to identify more ways to reduce bulk water supply costs in SEQ and work closely with Council-owned water businesses to reduce the cost of delivering water and sewerage services."