Councils should say no to water fee
By REN LANZONnewsroom@gladstoneobserver.com.au
WE are paying a lot more for our water than most other coastal centres, according to research conducted by Tannum Sands resident Garry Ross.
Mr Ross wants the mayors of Gladstone City and Calliope Shire to point this out to the Queensland Competition Author-ity (QCA) which has recommended a 23.3 per cent increase in the water pricing for the two councils.
He has compared costs to residents in both councils with those living in coastal or near coastal cities in Queensland.
'Only Maryborough pays more for its water, closely followed by Calliope Shire then Gladstone City,' he said.
Yet, he says the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) has recommended the increase in water pricing for Gladstone Area Water Board (GAWB) customers, which supplied water to both Gladstone and Calliope councils.
Mr Ross, an accountant of 30 years and financial controller for Queensland Alumina Limited for 20 years, has put forward a solution which he says is fairer to the GAWB and to its council customers.
He has urged the mayors to tell the GAWB's stakeholding ministers, Premier Peter Beattie and Treasurer Terry Mackenroth, "the ratepayers of the Gladstone region want a 20-year contract for treated water'.
This is to be at the price as from July 1, 2004 plus escalation capped at 75 per cent of each year's CPI, plus a two-way price review clause at the end of 10 years based on comparison against average cost per kilolitre for treated water supply to all cities in Queensland with a population above 40,000.
He said if the state government, the QCA and the GAWB did not agree, the the mayors should tell them 'that's all we will pay them for the next 20 years'.
Mr Ross said the government would not be game to cut off supply.
' ... We have all been duped by this QCA investigation and this facade of public consultation ... (but) the owning ministers want 'full cost recovery' and inappropriate returns on governmentowned infrastructure assets.'
Gladstone mayor Peter Cor-ones said his council would study Mr Ross' proposal which it received this week.
However, attempts to speak with Calliope Shire mayor George Creed were not successful.