MP asks council to reconsider 150% rise in water price
MEMBER for Nanango Deb Frecklington has written a letter to the Mayor of the South Burnett Regional Council to reconsider the 150 per cent rise in water charges.
During the June general monthly meeting all of the councillors except for Division 5 Councillor Kathy Duff voted in favour of an increase on the water from standpipes from $4.10 to $10 per kilolitre.
Now, Frecklington has sent Mayor Brett Otto a letter asking for council to reevaluate the huge rise.
“It has been brought to my attention that standpipe water charges were reviewed at the South Burnett Regional Council meeting on June 17, with council voting in favour of increasing charges from $4.10 per kl to $10 per kl,” Frecklington said.
“Following this meeting, I have received contact from SBRC residents who are very concerned about this 150 per cent increase.
“While I note council’s reasons for this increase are based on several issues, including the cost to repair vandalised standpipes, and concerns about tankers from outside the region using the service, I agree with the community’s concerns that the large increase during drought conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic is poor timing.”
In the meeting, councillor Roz Frohloff gave two examples of neighbouring council’s water prices to justify the rise.
They included Western Downs Regional Council who charged an average of $17.90 per kl for their water supply, and Maranoa Regional Council charged $14.20 per kilolitre.
However, Frecklington said it was not the case for all of the surrounding regions and asked them to resconsider this decision.
“I also note that council justified this increase by comparing standpipe costs to Western Downs Regional Council and Maranoa Regional Council,” she said.
“However, on looking at other neighbouring councils, Toowoomba Regional Council charges $3.79 per kl maximum and North Burnett’s $4.90 per kl are not this high and must also be used as a benchmark.
“On behalf of ratepayers who rely on the standpipes, I request council reconsider this decision.
“Water is an essential service and increases such as these place an unnecessary burden on property owners who need access to water during drought.”
Frecklington has also started a petition for residents to sign, which can be handed into Jane Erkens at Nanango Real Estate.
To view the downloadable petition, view it here.