Council dealt another blow by State Government
  • Tuesday 01 July 2008

Three days before the Sunshine Coast Regional Council is due to hand down its first budget it has been dealt another blow by the State Government.

Council was advised that $6 million had been deducted from the promised compensation for the transfer of its bulk water asset.

This is on top of the $20 million write-off that has been disclosed as part of closing the books of the three former councils.

“That’s not the end of the bad news for Sunshine Coast residents,” says Mayor Bob Abbot.

“By 2012 charges from the state controlled BWSA will have doubled from current levels,” he said.

Advice from the Deputy Premier on 27 June 2008 shows that the price of water from the State’s Bulk Water Supply Authority (BWSA) will increase by a further 21% on 1 July 09.

The issue of reducing compensation first surfaced in March when the state slashed $3 million off the payment for Aquagen (Caloundra-Maroochy Water Board) blaming increases on interest rates.

The Council of Mayors immediately wrote to Queensland Treasury expressing the concerns of SEQ Councils to that action.

“In refusing to address Council’s concerns the State are doing their best to ensure that councils get the blame for their reform,” Mayor Abbot said.

“There can be no hiding from the fact that the state water reforms will clearly result in substantial increases in water prices for the next 10 years”.

The $6m decrease is estimated to cost an extra $750,000 however Mr Abbot said that there will be no further rate increases on this year’s budget as a result of this shortfall prior to Thursday’s budget being handed down.