Water and sew­er­age need funds

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - Molly Han­cock Molly.Han­cock@west­ern­

IN A RE­CENT Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion of Queens­land Water and Sew­er­age Ad­vi­sory Group meet­ing, chair­man and Mara­noa coun­cil­lor David Schefe raised the is­sues of fund­ing.

A col­lec­tion of coun­cil­lors and ex­ec­u­tive staff in the water and sew­er­age space from around Queens­land came to­gether on Thursday, March 29, to dis­cuss is­sues and plans for water and sew­er­age with Min­is­ter for Nat­u­ral Re­sources, Mines and En­ergy An­thony Lyn­ham.

“What is wor­ry­ing coun­cils across Queens­land is the fact that we have this in­fra­struc­ture cliff,” Cr Schefe said.

“A lot of in­fra­struc­ture in Aus­tralia, par­tic­u­larly in Queens­land, went in around the same time and it is all go­ing to reach its end of life very close to­gether.”

The two main is­sues Cr Schefe and the ad­vi­sory group raised with Mr Lyn­ham in­cluded over­all fund­ing for water and sew­er­age and fund­ing streams.

“Fund­ing for the last fi­nan­cial year 2017–18 bud­get was in or­der about

$570 mil­lion from state to lo­cal gov­ern­ment,” he said.

“In State Gov­ern­ment’s for­ward es­ti­mates at the mo­ment they are think­ing about drop­ping it back to around $330–340 mil­lion but lo­cal gov­ern­ment want it to re­main around the

$500 mil­lion mark and there­fore LGAQ are try­ing to lobby against this drop.”

The other ini­tia­tive LGAQ is push­ing for is sep­a­rate fund­ing streams.

“At the mo­ment if you want to put up for a sew­er­age project you are in the same fund­ing stream as some­one who might be build­ing a library or foot­paths,” Cr Schefe said.

“We are propos­ing that es­sen­tial ser­vices that peo­ple need op­posed to the projects peo­ple would like to have but can live with­out have sep­a­rate fund­ing streams so we don’t have to com­pete against each other for it.”

Cr Schefe said at the mo­ment fund­ing for water and sew­er­age was year by year, putting im­mense pres­sure on coun­cils to have projects com­pleted in short amounts of time and sup­pli­ers be­ing in high de­mand.

“How­ever if we had fund­ing that was spread over five years, for ex­am­ple, and we are will­ing to work in with three or four other coun­cils to de­liver our pro­posed project, we are go­ing to get a cheaper price from the sup­plier be­cause they have guar­an­teed work for five years,” he said.

“That means that the dol­lars they are spend­ing will go fur­ther and we could cre­ate more jobs.”


ES­SEN­TIAL SER­VICES: Maranoa coun­cil­lor David Schefe raised con­cerns re­lat­ing to Roma’s wa­ter and sew­er­age sys­tem at the LGAQ Wa­ter and Sew­er­age Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee meet­ing.

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