Bond University assistant Professor of Law Victoria Baumfield says the price hikes are to cut Seqwater’s $9 billion debt.
Bond University assistant Professor of Law Victoria Baumfield says the price hikes are to cut Seqwater’s $9 billion debt.

Water bill hike on its way

A TYPICAL Logan family is poised to pay up to $100 a year more for household water in two years.

The proposed increase was outlined in the Queensland Competition Authority's latest review of the state government bulk water price, released with little fanfare during last month's Commonwealth Games.

The Final Report: Seqwater Bulk Water Price Review 2018-21 sets out two price plans for 11 councils over the three years from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021.

Both options result in all 11 councils coming to parity and paying the same price to buy state bulk water by 2021. The report proposes lifting the current bulk water charge for Logan from $2.81 per kilolitre to $3.112 per kilolitre in 2020-21, equating to a 10.8 per cent increase.

That equates to a $48.80 hike in the annual water bill for the "average" southeast Queensland household of 2.53 people using 160kL a year. However, for an average Logan household of five people, the bill would be closer to an extra $96.44 per year. A family of four was likely to be hit with an extra $77.17 by 2021.

On top of that increase, Logan City Council, as the city's water retailer, adds its own mark-up and charges for consumption using a tiered billing system for each kilolitre of water used.

QCA chairman Professor Roy Green said bulk water charges accounted for about 30 per cent of an average household's water and sewerage bill.

 

Queensland Competition Authority chair Professor Roy Green released the QCA report on water pricing, which suggests price hikes in Logan. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Queensland Competition Authority chair Professor Roy Green released the QCA report on water pricing, which suggests price hikes in Logan. Picture: Zak Simmonds

 

He said under the first option, the current bulk water price for Logan and seven other southeast Queensland councils paying the common price of $2.82 per kilolitre would rise by 5.2 per cent in 2018-19 and 2.5 per cent in each of the next two years equating to a rise of $23.20 in 2018-19 and $12 in each of the next two years.

Under the second option, he said the water price for Logan would rise by 3.5 per cent in each of the three years, resulting in increases for the average household of $16 to $17 each year.

 

Bond University assistant Professor of Law Victoria Baumfield says the price hikes are to cut Seqwater’s $9 billion debt.
Bond University assistant Professor of Law Victoria Baumfield says the price hikes are to cut Seqwater’s $9 billion debt.

 

Water law researcher from Bond University assistant Professor of Law Victoria Baumfield, pictured, said the planned price rises for the next three years were not just for price parity and were mainly to cut Seqwater's $9.4 billion debt.

"This debt dates back to when the Beattie/Bligh government took over water management from southeast Queensland's local councils," she said.

"In fact, until this year, the total debt owed to the Queensland Treasury Corporation was actually growing despite Seqwater hiking up the state bulk water charge almost every year.".

She said the cost of the debt was reflected in the fact that Logan ratepayers already pay one of the highest water usage rates in Australia and southeast Queensland residents paid more for water than any other state capital.


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