WEIGHT IN GOLD: Extremely high Groundwater pricing in Monto may see a rise in water prices throughout the North Burnett Region.
WEIGHT IN GOLD: Extremely high Groundwater pricing in Monto may see a rise in water prices throughout the North Burnett Region. Emma Gough

Water price soars 55 per cent, but not the full story

EVERYONE knows Gympie's water prices have crept ever upwards, but it seems the truth of what we pay is more complex than it seems.

According to a report from AEC group into Queensland's large water service providers Gympie's consumption charge (for under 250kL) has soared 55 per cent over the past eight years, from 70c/kL in 2009-10 to $1.09/kL in 2016-17.

While this sounds like a perfect chance for outrage, the report also reveals that our average residential water bill consuming 200kL is about $550, well below the Queensland median charge of of $860.

Only Rockhampton and Cairns had cheaper average bills.

Gympie charges are also well below those on the south-east Queensland water grid, where Brisbane residents pay $3.51/kL and those on the Sunshine Coast pay $3.11/kL

Mayor Mick Curran said the need to cover depreciation on the more than $300 million of assets had played a large role in the rise.

"We don't want to leave councils down the track short,” he said.

"People have to appreciate that our costs are going up all the time.”

And while there was room for prices to go much higher and still be considered cheap, it was not an option he agreed with.

"I don't believe that's fair.”

While the council's present water contract expires in the next few years, Cr Curran said the six Wide Bay Burnett regional councils were working to prevent being hit with the high prices SEQwater was expected to charge over the next decade.

"If they bring in these exorbitant charges through SEQ, that's going to have a flow-on to not only council... but primary producers and our major industries,” he said. "We intend to bring that up with the State Government at our next WBROC meeting.” He also reiterated his position on privatisation of Gympie's water. "As long as I'm sitting in this chair that will never happen and I will not support it. I might get out-voted by other councillors but I will never support us going to a privatised urban utility model.”

Gympie Times


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