THE MAYOR of the Gold Coast and the head of the Council’s water services committee have been urged to stop shifting the blame for the increase in water charges to ratepayers.
Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle said it was time Mayor Tom Tate and Councillor Paul Taylor told the truth about Gold Coast water bills.
“The councillors should understand that the 10 year pricing structure for bulk water was locked in by the previous Labor Government in 2007,” Mr McArdle said.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
“The south east’s bulk water supplier Seqwater was lumbered with more than $10.3 billion in debt which was the result of Labor’s reckless and unnecessary spending spree on things such as the now mothballed Tugun desalination plant.
“Enormous debt means enormous debt repayments by the Government and in Seqwater’s case debt servicing costs account for about half of its operating expenses.
“To put things in perspective, Seqwater operates at a loss and yet its bulk water charges represent only about 30 per cent of a typical Gold Coast water bill.
“The remaining 70 per cent cost is council related and it’s up to Councillors Tate and Taylor to explain why that is so high.”
The Newman Government is standing by its commitment to put downward pressure on cost of living expenses.
“We have maintained the $120 water rebate for pensioners and we have pushed through significant reform to ensure the SEQ bulk water supply system is operating more efficiently, saving about $80 million,” Mr McArdle said.
“We were also able to reduce the bulk water charge increase that would have occurred under Labor by more than 40 percent.”
Mr McArdle said that instead of letter box dropping residents with mischievous and misleading political propaganda, perhaps the Mayor might like to tell them how much profit Gold Coast water makes.
“He could also explain how much lower water rates would be if Gold Coast water simply broke even, or operated at a loss like the state government did through its bulk water producer,” he said.
“The only person making a profit from residents is Mayor Tom Tate.”