Govts should pay for water costs: mayor

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

GLADSTONE ratepayers should not be made to foot the bill for the proposed increase in local water costs according to Gladstone City Council.

At yesterday's Council meeting, mayor Peter Corones said the government should put their hands in their pockets to pay for the mooted increases, not Gladstone residents.

'The state and federal governments have changed the rules ... let them pay,' Cr Corones said.

'As with other customers, if the Queensland Government wishes to ensure there is sufficient reserve capacity available for development purposes, it must pay access charges to secure or reserve allocation of water from GAWB.'

Cr Corones spoke in relation to the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) report which is suggesting a dramatic increase in Gladstone Area Water Board (GAWB) prices.

Cr Corones said the report suggested a user pays system for industry, but an equalised method for Council in which Gladstone subsidised or offset Calliope Shire water costs '...and possibly Orica and Comalco as customers of Calliope Shire'.

Cr Corones said a number of times in his address that he was not having a go at Calliope and did not want its water prices to go up either.

Cr Corones said if Gladstone subsidised Calliope just 10 cents a Kilolitre, it would mean a $600,000 a year increase in water costs for the city, but it could be more.

'That's if it's 10 cents (per) kilolitre ... if it's more than 10 cents ... the $600,000 goes up proportionately,' he said.

Cr Corones said the proposed changes were equivalent to Gladstone writing a $600,000 cheque to Calliope Shire each year. Council will submit an official objection to the QCA report.



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