Wa­ter win

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - by Ryan Mathe­son ryan. mathe­son@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

TOWNSVILLE City Coun­cil will al­low ratepay­ers to re­vert to the pre­vi­ous wa­ter charges sys­tem in a mon­u­men­tal win yes­ter­day for peo­ple power.

The coun­cil unan­i­mously agreed to al­low ratepay­ers to re­turn to an al­lo­ca­tion-based pric­ing sys­tem al­though those who wished to re­main on the cur­rent two-part tar­iff could do so.

The Wa­ter Best Prac­tice Pric­ing Im­ple­men­ta­tion Plan is a re­sponse to the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment out­lin­ing the coun­cil’s pre­ferred pric­ing model and re­quired time frame for its im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Mayor Les Tyrell all but ad­mit­ted he was done bat­tling res­i­dents’ anger and needed to get back to run­ning the city in prepa­ra­tion for the next fi­nan­cial year. Cr Tyrell yes­ter­day said the de­ci­sion spelled an end to months of spec­u­la­tion.

‘‘ We have to get on with the busi­ness of run­ning the coun­cil and the de­ci­sion to­day is the best way to do that, es­pe­cially as we move into our plan­ning cy­cle for the next fi­nan­cial year,’’ he said.

‘‘ The coun­cil has in­di­cated it will fol­low the wishes of the com­mu­nity and put for­ward a pric­ing im- ple­men­ta­tion plan that mir­rors the sys­tem in place prior to this year.’’

Last week, in a letter to coun­cil, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment stated coun­cil did not pro­vide a pric­ing plan by June 30 last year, so the new ar­range­ments did not re­sult from any Com­mon­wealth de­ci­sion.

The letter said the Depart­ment of Sus­tain­abil­ity, En­vi­ron­ment, Wa­ter, Popul a t i o n a nd Com­mu­ni­ties could dis­cuss pric­ing ar­range­ments once coun­cil fi­nally sub­mit­ted its pre­ferred pric­ing model as per fund­ing agree­ments.

Cr Tyrell slammed lengthy process.

‘‘ The coun­cil never wanted to change and we were quite happy with the sys­tem that was in place,’’ he said.

‘‘ We were obliged by both the state and fed­eral gov­ern­ment( s) to go down the track of chang­ing that sys­tem and we worked side by side for over six months.

‘‘ The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment took four months to come back with a re­quest for more in­for­ma­tion.

‘‘ We have now taken the ini­tia­tive to put in place the prin­ci­ples in which we be­lieve the com­mu­nity wants us to do.

‘ ‘ The Premier has said there is no im­ped­i­ment to go­ing back to the old sys­tem and surely the same logic will ap­ply at a fed­eral level.’’

The last bill on the con­tro­ver­sial sys­tem will be com­pleted at the end of this fina n c i a l y e a r ’ s q u a r t e r l y util­i­ties process and the changes will be in­tro­duced from July 1 this year.

Cr Tyrell said the fees as-

t he

CHOICE: Mayor Les Tyrell an­nounces coun­cil’s wa­ter pric­ing de­ci­sion yes­ter­day so­ci­ated were sub­ject to fu­ture fluc­tu­a­tions.

‘‘ The cost of wa­ter has al­ways been cal­cu­lated on the cost of pro­duc­ing it and that varies from year to year,’’ he said.

‘‘ Ob­vi­ously those peo­ple who have a wa­ter con­nec­tion share in the costs.

‘‘ This de­ci­sion clears the way f o r t a ki ng t he i mple­men­ta­tion plan to Can­berra to show how and when we in­tend to re­vert to the for­mer sys­tem. We need to look at next year’s bud­get in re­la­tion to what the costs of wa­ter will be, so it’s re­ally pre­ma­ture to pro­vide any fig­ures at this stage.’’

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