Residents seek water answers

By REN LANZONnewsroom@gladstoneobserver.com.au

ANGRY ratepayers have called a meeting in Mount Larcom this Thursday following concerns over proposed water rate hikes.

Mt Larcom Chamber of Commerce president Karen Willcocks said the community was getting mixed signals about where price rises would come from.

Mt Larcom residents could pay more than 600 per cent more under a pricing policy recommended by the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA). But other Calliope Shire and Gladstone residents would also pay considerably more.

According to the report recommendations, water users in both councils would pay 23.3 per cent more in water rates if they were adopted.

However, Mrs Willcocks said recent enquiries with Calliope Council and the QCA had not cleared up in people's minds which of them or the Gladstone Area Water Board would be responsible for im-plementing the new pricing structure.

She said councillors and representatives of the QCA and GAWB were all invited to the meeting which also would be attended by Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham.

Yesterday Mrs Cunningham said QCA had told her and the Mt Larcom community the recommended water pricing was the maximum amount those who would be responsible for making the charge ? the GAWB and the councils ? could charge.

However, according to the advice she received, the QCA would first put its recommendations to the stakeholders (the State Treasurer and the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines).

She said she feared it would be in the shareholders' interest to recommend the highest price possible. GAWB, and the councils in their turn, might be obliged to charge the maximum amount although they would not be allowed to charge more, she said.

The meeting will start at 7.30pm in the town's CWA Hall. Mrs Willcocks said Gladstone and Calliope water us- ers would be welcome at the meeting.



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