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Redland bulk water price up 14%

REDLAND water users should be prepared for higher water bills from July 1 after the state government announced it would hit the city with a 14.3 per cent hike in its bulk water price.

Redland’s bulk water price for the next financial year is the lowest of all 10 South East Queensland councils.

The Redlands will remain paying the lowest bulk water price of all councils until 2017, when it will suffer a 23.8 per cent hike, jacking its bulk water price to $3217 per megalitre, in line with all other councils.

Data from the Department of Energy and Water Supply shows Redland’s bulk water price will rise to $1962 in 2014, before hitting $2207 in 2015 and $2452 in 2016.

It is unknown what impact the increase in bulk water price will have on the Redland retail price of water, capped at 2.5 per cent in 2010 but due to be floated on July1.

Last year, Redland council paid $88 million to the state in bulk water charges and, on July 1, that bill will jackpot to $93 million.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said she planned to lobby Water Minister Mark McArdle and ask ratepayers to consider ways to reduce the impact of the 14.3 per cent price hike, which equated to an extra $5 million in state coffers.

“I want the community to be able to consider a range of options to try to reduce the impact on consumers such as partnering with other water retailers such as Unity Water or Queensland Urban Utilities,” Cr Williams said.

“I will also continue to lobby the Water Minister so the city can purchase back its own bulk water assets, so we don’t face these price rises in the future.

“It is only fair that our water consumers pay the lowest price per megalitre because they once owned the assets and had paid for them before the state took them away.

“We also had an unfair and inequitable marriage with Allconnex where we were getting less return on our investment that we deserved.”

Redland Infrastructure and Operations general manager Gary Soutar said council had not had time to set its retail water price and was still modelling pricing decisions.

On Friday, Mr McArdle said the bulk water price increase was necessary to pay for a debt incurred when the previous Bligh Labor government tried to drought-proof the state.

Mr McArdle also said the price increase was needed after average water consumption failed to hit 2008 predicted targets of 230 litres per person a day.

In Redland, the average daily consumption rose from 169litres per person this time last year to 184litres for the two week period ending on May 1.

Go to the Bayside Bulletin for the original article

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