Water price hike sparks blame game

THE LNP Government has been accused of breaking its promise to reduce the cost of living by announcing an increase in water prices.

Water Supply Minister and Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle yesterday announced the cost of water for the average household would rise by $49 a year.

Shadow treasurer Curtis Pitt said the LNP had gradually backed away from a commitment to saving householders $80 a year on their water bills.

"Once in government, that promise was restricted to residents in south-east Queensland only. Then it became a one-off rebate instead of a yearly on-going saving," Mr Pitt said.

"Now water bills are going up again when the LNP said they would go down, just as electricity prices are going up by 21%."

Mr McArdle tried to soften news of the increase yesterday by saying it was lower than it could have been.

He said that increase was less than the $54 forecast by the Bligh government for 2013-14.

The Newman government had kept the increase down by halting construction of the Wyaralong Water Treatment Plant and associated pipelines which would have cost $500 million.

The $49 increase in the bulk water charge is based on an average household usage of 200 kilolitres a year.

Mr McArdle said the LNP could have reduced the cost even further if the Labor government had used "more accurate water consumption forecasts" in determining future water prices.

But Mr Pitt said the LNP could not keep falling back on the "blame game" when it could not deliver on promises.

"They attack the former government when it suits them, but then admit the infrastructure Labor put in place saved taps in the state's capital and the south-east from running dry when the Mount Crosby treatment plan was offline earlier this year," he said.

Mr Pitt said the LNP was digging into Queenslanders' pockets every week for more money.

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