Prof Roy Green
Prof Roy Green Contributed

Noosa hit with a water price spike if state accepts advice

EVEN the most water-wise Noosa residents on town water may be hit with a bulk water charge increase of about $90 over a three-year period.

This is after the State Government asked the Queensland Competition Authority to review these charges and it found Noosa, the Sunshine Coast and Redland councils were not paying enough to cover the cost of the southeast Queensland water grid.

The authority's chairman, Professor Roy Green, said bulk water charges accounted for about 30 per cent of an average household's water and sewerage bill.

Prof Green said for historical reasons, bulk 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 across the 11 local government authorities in the southeast region.

"The State Government has asked the QCA to present two pricing options, one that would see the common price reached by all councils in 2019-20 and another where the common price would be reached in 2020-21.

"Eight of the councils in SEQ have already reached the common price, with the Sunshine Coast, Noosa and Redland City needing to make up some more ground,” Prof Green said.

Under the first option the price for Sunshine Coast and Noosa would increase by eight per cent in 2018-19, 7.4 per cent in 2019-20 and 2.5 per cent in 2020-21.

Prof Green said this would see an average household's bill in Noosa and the Sunshine Coast increase by $33.60 in 2018-19, $33.76 the following year and $12 in 2020-21.

The second option would provide more gradual increases with Noosa and the Sunshine Coast seeing price increases of 6.5 per cent, 6.1 per cent and 5.7 per cent.

"This would see average households facing increases of about $27 each year for Sunshine Coast,” he said.

Prof Green said in response to severe drought, the State Government took over control of bulk water supply from the region's councils in 2008 and built the SEQ water grid.

"Prices were initially set to recover less than the cost of supplying bulk water, with the accumulated under-recovery - or 'price path debt' - to be gradually repaid in full by 2028.”

The State Government will now have to decide whether to accept the authority's final pricing recommendations.

LNP deputy leader Tim Mander believes the price rises are over the top after Labor mismanaged the water grid, leading to this debt burden on households.