Water price hike debate in Queensland Parliament

AN ATTEMPT by the LNP to get Parliament to reject the Queensland Competition Authority’s recommendation to increase water prices has failed.

While 47 Labor members voted against the motion, moved by Burdekin MP Dale Last, just 43 members were in favour.

The authority’s recommendation is for an increase of more than nine per cent, or $88, over three years for Redlands.

The government determines bulk water prices across the 11 SEQ council areas and last year directed the QCA to review costs and recommend prices.

Historically water prices had varied from council to council but a single common price for a kilolitre (1000 litres) was expected to apply by the end of the decade.

Pushing for the rejection, Oodgeroo MP Mark Robinson said Labor’s water pricing policies were a form of water torture for residents and small businesses in Redlands and south-east Queensland.

“Our water used to be cheap,” Mr Robinson said.

“The former Redland Shire Council had the foresight to plan, secure and construct the necessary water infrastructure and valuable water resources and to keep water price increases low.”

He said Cleveland cafe owner Sharon Milne had raised concerns about increased costs, including power and water.

Opposing the motion, Redlands MP Kim Richards said it was essential south-east Queensland households and businesses had a safe, secure and reliable water supply.

“This grid is an important asset for south-east Queensland that allows for an operational response to drought, thereby slowing the draw down of storages and providing more time to capture replenishing rainfall,” Ms Richards said.

“We must protect south-east Queensland against drought – droughts that will only become more severe and harsher owing to climate change.”

Ms Richards said Redland residents had benefited from access to the water grid and some of the state’s cheapest water prices.

“Since 2008, Seqwater has been subsidising water for customers by providing water at below or at cost.

“The cost of providing water to some areas is cheaper than it is to others.

“The price path is designed to ensure all Seqwater customers equitably pay the same in sharing the benefits of south-east Queensland’s water.”