'Speed it up': Mayor wants QUU action on costly water bills

UPDATE 5PM: Mayor Andrew Antoniolli admits he is concerned with Ipswich residents paying a higher price to access water, which Queensland Urban Utilities says is due to the levels of investment.

On Wednesday it was revealed residents in Ipswich paid $20.07 more for the sewerage access charge, $29.98 for water access and a higher consumption rate than Brisbane.

Queensland Urban Utilities services customers in the Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Somerset areas.

When asked if the council was concerned about the price disparity, Cr Antoniolli said; "we certainly are."

"This is a legacy of the amalgamation of water entities from each individual council into one government-owned corporation," he said. "What is a lingering problem is the different charge rates for different local government areas.

"Apparently, they have a plan to bring all the fees into alignment over an extended period of time."

Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli adresses the media on Friday morning.
Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli adresses the media on Friday morning. Rob Williams

Cr Antoniolli called for Queensland Urban Utilities, of which the Ipswich City Council is a 12% shareholder, to "speed up that process".

"I would agree with my colleagues that we need to come up with a remedy so that all of the ratepayers from all council areas that QUU has governance over, are paying the same rates for water," he said.

Queensland Urban Utilities spokeswoman Michelle Cull said prices were higher in Ipswich because the entity had invested "significantly more in water and sewerage infrastructure" there.

"We've invested around $4000 per property in Ipswich and $700 per property in Brisbane over the past seven years," she said. "At the same time, we've been working hard to reduce the price difference between Brisbane and Ipswich."

Ms Cull said prior to the establishment of QUU in 2010, water and sewerage prices in Ipswich were 37% higher than Brisbane.

"Our annual average price increase in Ipswich over the past seven years has been 1.1%," she said.

"In Brisbane, our average annual price increase over the past seven years has been 2.4%. The average residential water and sewerage bill in Ipswich is $373.28 per quarter and $318.04 per quarter in Brisbane including the state bulk water charge."

That bulk water charge is set by the state government, at $2.87 per kilolitre.

Cr Antoniolli agreed without Queensland Urban Utilities, water charges "would be considerably higher".

He called for pricing to be streamlined across the entity's five local government areas.

Since 2010, $377 million has been invested in water and sewerage infrastructure in Ipswich, including $117 million for the Goodna Sewage Treatment Plant.

"This is particularly important for Ipswich as it's the fastest growing region in Queensland," Ms Cull said.

 

WATER COMPARISON

Ipswich

Water access charge: $80.61

Sewerage access charge: $152.04

Tier consumption charges: $0.93 per kilolitre

State bulk water charge: $225.36

Brisbane

Water access charge: $51.63

Sewerage access charge: $131.97

Tier consumption charges: $0.76 per kilolitre

State bulk water charge: $225.36



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