The 4350water Blog highlights some of the issues relating to proposals for potable reuse in Toowoomba and South East Qld. 4350water blog looks at related political issues as well.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Anna Bligh runs out of money and scraps SEQ water grid management ...

Courier Mail:

Premier Anna Bligh's backflip on water management

29 May 2009

The Bligh Government is set to scrap its complicated model for managing southeast Queensland's water.

Much of the responsibility for getting water to the region's 1.4 million homes will be handed back to local councils as water retailers.

In a significant backdown, the Government will begin talks with councils on axing plans to have the region's 10 water businesses, with about $10 billion in assets, folded into a massive company that was due for launch in July 2010.

The Government is considering other ways of running the region's water grid in a bid to save costs on what has become
a hugely expensive and complicated project.

Treasurer Andrew Fraser wrote to South East Queensland Council of Mayors chairman Cr Campbell Newman late last week to make the offer.

The move follows weeks of controversy on the way the water grid was being managed, including reports of an overdose of fluoride, the detection of E.Coli in the drinking supply and poor communications between those in charge of the grid and the Government.

Mr Fraser's letter, obtained by The Courier-Mail,
asks councils to come up with alternatives to the Government's plans to have a single company manage all sewerage and water distribution across the region.

The Government's original proposal was for that company, owned jointly by councils and set to be one of Australia's top 50 companies, to distribute water to three council-run water retailers to sell to customers.

However, councils are fearful the new body will cost more than $300 million to set up – a figure the Government disputes – and leave them without sufficient income to avoid big rate hikes.

In his letter, Mr Fraser says the Government "remains satisfied that there is considerable merit in this model".

"However, it is nonetheless recognised that an alternative model for reform . . . may achieve many of the policy objectives of the model endorsed by the Government."

The letter, co-signed by Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson, says it is "critical" the shape of the new business is finalised to allow it to be launched by no later than the end of next year.

See - Courier Mail - Premier Anna Bligh's backflip on water management.

The SEQ water grid just became harder to privatise ...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just watch our water bills go up.
The citizens in what used to be Jondaryan, Wyreema and so on have just received their 2nd. water bill in a short space of time as it is supposed to bring them into line with Toowoomba.
The only problem is that these accounts seem to be much higher than these people think they should be.
Many inquiries have been made but no refunds have been given so far.

I think many a country person is wishing that the amalgamation never happened.

4:03 PM, May 29, 2009

Anonymous newswatch said...

Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Stephen Robertson
State Government committed to water reform

Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Stephen Robertson said the State Government continues to work with South East Queensland Councils on water reforms.

"The Bligh Government remains committed to a reliable, safe and cost-effective model for water distribution and retail services in South East Queensland," Mr Robertson said.

"The Council of Mayors - South East Queensland (CoMSEQ) came to the State Government wanting to put forward an alternative model for water reform, which they claim will save rate-payers money.

"If there are genuine savings to be made without compromising the reform objectives, this is something the government will seriously consider.

"The Bligh Government is acutely aware of the economic challenges faced by all levels of government, and if there is the opportunity to save money, we will welcome it.

"However any alternative measures need to be as robust as the current model we are implementing.

"I need to stress no decision has been made to change the framework of water reform in South East Queensland.

"Once we have received information from the CoMSEQ on their alternative approach, the Queensland Government will be in a position to comment on the matter further," Mr Robertson said.


10:28 PM, May 30, 2009


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