Water price gouging in Queensland

The cost for water and sewerage in Brisbane for the average household is now AU$2.59 a day. If you lived off the grid getting water trucked in could cost $2.23 to $2.30 a day.

Residents in the Moreton Bay Regional Council area were facing a rise of between 27 and 66 per cent from July 1 until the local council stepped in to subsidise it.

The rises are being pushed through by QUU, Australia’s fourth-largest water utility company, with an income of about $800 million a year. QUU chief executive Noel Faulkner said the rise in bulk water costs from the State Government accounted for about half of the annual increase and was likely to be repeated in future years as the Australian Treasury recouped money spent on the water grid.

The State Government has also scrapped a 40 per cent subsidy on waste water infrastructure and increased its bulk water charge to QUU by $36 million.

He said QUU had done all it could to keep the increases to a minimum but it also had a massive task in meeting population growth, particularly in the Ipswich corridor.

The five councils that own QUU will also receive a dividend of AU$50 million, but Mr Faulkner said if this wasn’t paid, individual rates would probably have to increase.

The big rises led Premier Anna Bligh to warn councils against price gouging.

“I certainly don’t believe there should be significant profiteering being done out of retailing of water by councils,” Ms Bligh said, adding that the State Government made no profit from water and only recovered its costs.

After the rises, filling a 35,000 litre pool will now cost about $530, an increase of $80, while a 6000 litre tank will cost about $230, a rise of $50.

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