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-
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.’’