UPDATE: Council yet to hear from State Govt on water deal

UPDATE: 

DESPITE having its Deputy Mayor handed a letter in Brisbane today,  pledging to return millions in revenue to the region, the council says it still hasn't officially heard from a State Government representative.  

The council has confirmed Cr Burnett did not go to the meeting as an official representative of the council and has not been endorsed as the council's spokesperson on the issue. 

The council's Chief Executive Officer Stuart Randle said until the State Government provides more information the impact for residents on the return of dividends won't be clear.  

"At this stage Council has not received any advice in relation to the announced decision to return GAWB dividends to the community," Mr Randle said in a written statement. 

"I have however been provided with a copy of a letter that Cr Burnett posted on Facebook earlier today and until I have been able to discuss this with officers from the Department of Energy and Water Supply to determine precisely what is intended I am unable to make any comment."

The Premier invited Cr Burnett to Brisbane yesterday to discuss the long standing issue of dividends, redirected from the council to the State Government coffers in 2013 by the Newman LNP government.   

Cr Burnett has confirmed he went to the meeting as "a resident of the Gladstone Region" and paid for his own flights. 

When asked why no date appears on the letter (shown below), the Premier's office said; "The letter was provided to Matt Burnett when he met the Premier today". 

A copy of the same letter handed to Cr Burnett was delivered to the council late this afternoon. 

EARLIER: 

MILLIONS of dollars in water dividends will begin flowing back to Gladstone Regional Council from next year. 

After years of campaigning a deal has been struck with the State Government, which will see $18 million returned to the council over the next four years, was outlined in a letter signed by the Premier herself addressed to Deputy Mayor Matt Burnett.

It's the news Gladstone residents have been waiting for following years of increased charges used to supplement the loss of millions of dollars in revenue since 2013 when the LNP Newman government redirected the funds to the State Government coffers. 

However the news has been met with accusations of political pork-barreling from Cr Burnett's mayoral rivals who say the timing of the announcement suggests a "political stunt". 

>>OPINION: Expert on 'pork-barreling' claims

The Gladstone Regional Council has not yet been officially notified of any decision from the State Government regarding the GAWB dividends. 

The letter states, in part;

"Dear Cr Burnett, 

Thank you for your letter of 29 February 2016 following up on discussions about the return of Gladstone Area Water Board dividends to the Gladstone Regional Council. 

In June 2013 I committed to return to the negotiating table to reverse the budget shortfall faced by the Gladstone Regional Council from the previous Government's decision to keep the Gladstone Area Water Board dividends. 

My Government delivers on its promises for Queenslanders and I can confirm that from next financial year the Queensland Government will return the Gladstone Area Water Board dividends to the Gladstone Regional Council for investment back into the community."

Letter from the Premier confirming GAWB dividends will flow back to the council.
Letter from the Premier confirming GAWB dividends will flow back to the council.

Follow this reporter on Twitter @helenspelitis



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