Unitywater has released its new pricing for 2011/12 to reflect changes announced by the Queensland Government in April.


From 1 July 2011, Unitywater’s fixed water and sewerage access and water usage charges will increase by 3.6%.


This is consistent with the State Government’s decision to cap Local Government distributor-retailer residential and small business price rises at CPI for the next two years.


The price cap does not apply to the State Government’s bulk water charge, which will increase by 16.5% for Unitywater’s Moreton Bay customers in 2011/12.


The new pricing will result in an annual increase of $39, or about 11 cents a day, in Unitywater’s charges for the average three-person household in the Moreton Bay region. The State Government’s bulk water charge will rise by $47 in 2011/2012 for the average three-person household.


Last week, Moreton Bay Regional Council announced it would continue to provide a 50% subsidy on access charge increases for Unitywater customers in the Moreton Bay region in 2011/12.


Unitywater CEO, Jon Black, said pricing reforms outlined by the organisation in March, which aimed to standardise tariffs, fees and charges across Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast and shift the emphasis to user-pays, had to be postponed.


Mr Black said instead, the existing tariff structure for Moreton Bay customers would be retained.


“We are disappointed that we have been unable to pursue the reforms which were designed to simplify the current pricing system and deliver greater equity and transparency,” he said.


“We remain committed to those principles.”


Mr Black said trade waste and recycled water tariffs, fees and charges were unaffected by the state legislation and Unitywater had moved to simplify these prices and create greater consistency across its customer base.


“We have halved the number of trade waste charges from 80 to 40 in 2011/12 and the new structure reflects the environmental impact of different kinds of trade waste and encourages environmentally-friendly waste management practices,” he said.


Mr Black said Unitywater would continue to roll out investment in critical capital works to support population growth in the Moreton Bay region and meet the Government’s increasingly stringent environmental standards.


He said the organisation would borrow to fund these works and determine the price path to recover the cost over the life of the assets.


“Unitywater still has a responsibility to deliver this essential infrastructure, regardless of the price cap,” Mr Black said.


“Unfortunately, since the removal of the State Government subsidy for sewerage infrastructure in 2009, the burden of funding these works will fall on our customers.”


He said the organisation also remained focused on improving customer service, achieving further operational efficiencies and pursuing sustainable, innovative technologies and opportunities to benefit its customers and the environment.