REDLANDS residents could be slugged an extra $90 per year for water by mid-2020, under price rises adopted by the state government.
The increases were recommended by the Queensland Competition Authority to help Seqwater repay $2.5 billion in debt within the next decade.
All of south-east Queensland’s 11 council areas will pay more for bulk water but the costs for Redlanders will go up the most in order to reach parity with other local authorities by July 2020.
Redland customers will be billed 7.31 per cent more per kilolitre from July 1, more than double the rise set for Brisbane residents who already are on a higher rate.
Another increase of 6.81 per cent will be added from July 2019, followed by 6.31 per cent the next financial year.
Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham said all south-east Queensland council areas would reach a common $3.12 per kilolitre price by July 2020.
“The Sunshine Coast and Noosa and Redlands residents were at lower price levels and had smaller price increases on the previous price path,” Mr Lynham said.
“The higher increases these areas are now facing will see them catch up to the common price.”
Currently, Redlanders are charged $2.561 per kilolitre, which is about five cents less than that charged at the Sunshine Coast and Noosa.
Redlands water is also 25 cents cheaper than in Brisbane, Ipswich, Moreton Bay, Lockyer Valley, the Scenic Rim, the Gold Coast, Logan and Somerset.
Seqwater’s debt from projects undertaken over the past decade is tipped to peak at $2.5 billion next financial year.
The QCA says Seqwater began accruing debt in 2008 when the state government took responsibility for bulk water supply from local councils.
This was when Redlands water supplies were added to south-east Queensland’s water grid in response to crippling drought.
“To reduce the price impact of significant investments made in water infrastructure in response to low water availability, bulk water price increases were to be phased in over time through a bulk water price path,” the report said.
“Price path debt is expected to peak at $2.5 billion in 2018-19 and to reduce in each subsequent year until it is fully repaid in 2028.”
Opposition leader Deb Frecklington said Queenslanders were being billed for Labor’s failures.
“Queenslanders are still paying the price for Labor’s multi-billion dollar water grid fail that saw pipes built without dams and dams built without pipes,” she said.
“Labor’s legacy was almost a 400 per cent increase in bulk water prices over 10 years.”
Oodgeroo MP Mark Robinson said he was disappointed in the rises.
“Labor could have stopped the flow of high water prices to Redlanders but chose instead to make every resident pay dearly for it at the tap,” he said.