Log on to have your say on wa­ter pric­ing

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Natalie Wynne natalie. wynne@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

TOWNSVILLE res­i­dents will fi­nally have their say on the city’s con­tro­ver­sial wa­ter charges.

The coun­cil’s Cor­po­rate Gov­er­nance Com­mit­tee yes­ter­day launched a Share Your Wa­ter Wis­dom com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion pro­gram for ratepay­ers to have their say on the wa­ter pric­ing scheme.

The coun­cil has agreed to give ratepay­ers the choice be­tween a two-part tar­iff or fixed price al­lo­ca­tion.

Mayor Les Tyrell said the c o mmu­nity c o n s u l t a t i o n would ask res­i­dents for their opin­ion on the fre­quency of bills and whether wa­ter and util­i­ties should be com­bined as in the past.

‘‘ So what we want to do now we have made that de­ci­sion to move back to our old scheme is just see how peo­ple feel most com­fort­able in that billing,’’ he said.

Cr Tyrell said res­i­dents could in­di­cate their pric­ing p r e f e r e nce s t hr o ugh t he coun­cil’s web­site.

‘‘ What we want

to do

is en­cour­age peo­ple to have their say on those par­tic­u­lar is­sues and then we’ll be able to get an in­di­ca­tion on which way they want to go,’’ he said.

‘‘ We do want to get peo­ple’s views on a num­ber of other is­sues.’’

Cr Tyrell said the in­for­mat i o n p e o p l e p r o v i d e d would play an im­por­tant part in how the coun­cil moved for­ward with wa­ter charges.

‘‘ We’re very keen to un­ders t and peo­ple’s views on whether or not they like the quar­terly billing that came in with that change,’’ he said.

‘‘ The rea­son for do­ing the con­sul­ta­tion is to find those sorts of things out, cer­tainly peo­ple have in­di­cated to me they’re happy with the quar­terly sys­tem be­cause it helps them bud­get.

‘ ‘ Oth­ers have i ndi­cated they get con­fused be­cause they have too many bills com­ing in.’’

Cr Tyrell re­fused to be drawn on whether the coun­cil would con­sider re­duc­ing its high fixed con­nec­tion fee which has been a bone of con­tention.

Cr Tyrell said he was still wait­ing for the fed­eral gove r n m e n t ’ s d e c i s i o n o n whether it could re­vert to the old wa­ter sys­tem with­out los­ing $ 40 mil­lion in fund­ing.

‘‘ We were wait­ing for the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to give us some sort of OK to re­vert to our orig­i­nal sys­tem,’’ he said.

‘‘ The in­di­ca­tion from the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment was re­ally a non-an­swer. We have now in­di­cated to the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment that that’s what we’re do­ing.’’

Res­i­dents will be able to log their con­cerns at the city li­braries and cus­tomer ser­vice branches, as well as on­line at coun­cil’s web­site, www. townsville. qld. gov. au

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