Residents take up water fight
By REN LANZONnewsroom@gladstoneobserver.com.au
MOUNT LARCOM residents became the flag bearers of a fight against recommendations for increased water pricing during a sometimes fiery meeting on Thursday night.
Up to 150 people met in the Mt Larcom hall to express their anger against the recently released recommendations by the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA).
The recommendations, if they were implemented, would increase the price Mt Larcom residents pay for their water by at least 600 per cent and even as much as 1400 per cent.
However, their fight was broadened to include the recommended 23.3 per cent increase for the rest of the Gladstone Area Water Board's (GAWB's) customers within the Gladstone and Calliope councils.
The meeting, organised by the Mt Larcom Chamber of Commerce, was attended by Calliope Shire councillors, Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham, Member for Hinkler Paul Neville and GAWB's chief executive officer Rod Hayes who formed a panel to address the issue and take questions.
The QCA chose not to send a representative, a decision that angered the residents as well as the members of the panel. Most of the heat was poured onto Mr Hayes who made it clear the GAWB board had no say in the pricing recommendations.
Calliope Mayor George Creed said the report was full of "anomalies'' and that councillors were to vote on a submission prepared by council on Friday (see accompanying story). He urged those interested to support it.
Mrs Cunningham said she would represent her constituents in State Parliament but said her action would be strengthened greatly if personal submissions and support for council's submission were also received from residents.