Residents wait for water and rates bills

By REN LANZONrlanzon@gladstoneobserver.com.au

CALLIOPE residents will have to wait another three weeks to find out how much they will pay in their water and rates bills.

Calliope Shire Council was to announce its budget for 2005-2006 at today's meeting, but has been forced to wait because of state government delays.

Calliope's chief executive officer Graeme Kanofski said the council would not release its budget until it negotiated a water price with the Gladstone Area Water Board.

But it was not able to do that until GAWB's stakeholding ministers, Premier Peter Beattie and deputy premier Terry Mackenroth, decide on the Queensland Competition Authority's pricing recommendations to GAWB.

The QCA released the document to the ministers more than three months ago. Asked if the council and residents might be 'in for a shock' in terms of the future price of water, Mr Kanofski said that would depend on the ministers' response to the QCA's recommendations.

'We have no idea what will come from the ministers,' he said.

'The water pricing issue leaves so much up in the air that we could not possibly bring down our budget,' Mr Kanofski said.

'However, we are confident this could be done before the next general meeting on July 29 which will be the new date for the release of our budget.'

Yesterday QCA chairman Darryl Macdonough said the document was delivered to the stakeholding ministers at the end of March and they had 90 days to make a decision on the recommendations.

GAWB chief executive officer Rod Hayes said there was a further process ahead for the report as it was to go to the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Stephen Robertson before it was returned to the board.

He said interim arrangements have been set in place in case further difficulties arose so as to allow the council to complete its budgetary considerations at its next meeting.



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