Water bills to rise for Scenic Rim residents

GOING UP: The increases were recommended by the Queensland Competition Authority to help Seqwater repay $2.5 billion in debt within the next decade.
GOING UP: The increases were recommended by the Queensland Competition Authority to help Seqwater repay $2.5 billion in debt within the next decade.

WATER bills for average Scenic Rim households will grow by about $16 per year for the next three years, under price rises adopted by the state government.

The increases were recommended by the Queensland Competition Authority to help Seqwater repay $2.5 billion in debt within the next decade.

All of south-east Queensland’s 11 council areas will pay more for bulk water but the costs for Scenic Rim residents and other Queensland Urban Utilities customers, who are already on a higher rate, will go up the least.

Queensland Urban Utilities sells bulk water to customers in the Scenic Rim, Brisbane, Ipswich, Moreton Bay, Lockyer Valley and Somerset.

Bulk water prices are set by the state government but have varied between south-east Queensland retailers, which are QUU, Unitywater and Logan, Gold Coast and Redland city councils.

QUU customers will be billed 3.49 per cent more per kilolitre from July 1, which is less than than half the rise set for Redlands residents, who currently pay less.

Another increase of 3.49 per cent will be added from July 2019, followed by the same increase again the next financial year.

Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham said all south-east Queensland council areas would reach a common $3.12 per kilolitre price by July 2020.

“Under this price path, price increases are set over three years with all council areas reaching the common price … ,” he said.

Currently, QUU customers are charged 2.817 per kilolitre, which is 25 cents more expensive than in the Redlands. It is also 20 cents more than the price charged at Noosa and the Sunshine Coast.

Seqwater’s debt from projects undertaken over the past decade is tipped to peak at $2.5 billion next financial year.

The QCA says Seqwater began accruing debt in 2008 when the state government took responsibility for bulk water supply from local councils. 

“To reduce the price impact of significant investments made in water infrastructure in response to low water availability, bulk water price increases were to be phased in over time through a bulk water price path,” the report said.

“Price path debt is expected to peak at $2.5 billion in 2018-19 and to reduce in each subsequent year until it is fully repaid in 2028.”