Queensland legislation to grant councils direct water management
The Queensland Government has introduced legislation before parliament that will allow direct management of water and wastewater services to be returned to the Gold Coast, Logan and Redland Councils.
State Minister for Water Utilities Stephen Robertson said changes to the SEQ Water (Distribution and Retail) Restructuring Act (DR Act) would formalise the three councils’ decisions to disband distributor-retailer Allconnex and return service control to the councils.
“In April this year councils across the south east were given the choice to take back the management of their water services,” Mr Robertson said.
“This was in response to claims by several councils that this would allow them to provide cheaper services to their residents.
“Gold Coast City Council took this vote to council not once but twice and both times opted to divorce from Allconnex.
“It was because of Gold Coast City Council’s decision that Redlands and Logan Councils followed suit."
The councils will be required to comply with key elements of the DR Act, including implementing long-term infrastructure planning and participating in the Energy and Water Ombudsman dispute resolution processes for small customers.
“The introduction of the DR Act means the Councils that own Queensland Urban Utilities and Unitywater will now be able to have councillors on the Boards of their distributor-retailers, bringing their knowledge and expertise to Board decisions,” Mr Robertson said.
Mr Robertson said the State Government had also taken further measures to ensure councils were responsible and accountable to their communities for water and wastewater prices.
“A two year Consumer Price Index (CPI) price cap on the distribution and retail component of household and small business water and sewerage bills, which commenced on 1 July 2011, is providing significant savings to residents across the south east,” Mr Robertson said.
“This cap will continue to apply to households and small businesses right across the south east.
“Councils are also required to publish price mitigation plans and price paths detailing how they will manage price increases after the CPI cap period ends.”