Wa­ter warn­ing to coun­cils

Townsville Bulletin - - News -

ANNA Bligh has threat­ened to leg­is­late against coun­cils ac­cused of prof­i­teer­ing on wa­ter.

Hos­tile Gold Coast res­i­dents con­fronted Ms Bligh and her min­is­ters at a com­mu­nity cabi­net meet­ing on Sun­day.

Ms Bligh said she un­der­stood the dis­tress af­ter bills in­creased by about 20 per cent.

‘‘ We’ll be tak­ing that concern back to the Cabi­net and look­ing at what we might be able to do to fur­ther curb the prof­i­teer­ing that coun­cils are do­ing in wa­ter,’’ she said.

‘‘ We’ll have to have a look at what leg­is­la­tion we can put in place, this is not easy. But coun­cils who con­tinue to make a profit with­out re­turn­ing that to their ratepay­ers is an is­sue that we do have to turn our minds to.’’

Ms Bligh said the Gov­ern­ment made no money sell­ing wa­ter to coun­cils.

But Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke blames the Gov­ern­ment for higher wa­ter costs he says is be­hind the rises.

Op­po­si­tion l eader John­Paul Lang­broek said the gov­ern­ment had cre­ated the mess by re­struc­tur­ing the way wa­ter was sold and had to strip away the ‘‘ spaghetti bu­reau­cracy’’ it had cre­ated around the new sys­tem.

He said price in­creases were slower when coun­cils were in charge of wa­ter, be­fore the new sys­tem sothe state gov­ern­ment could re­coup the costs of the wa­ter grid.

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