Magnetic Island North Queensland
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October 13th 2010
Mayor asks Anna for return to old water system

Townsville Mayor Les Tyrell has challenged Premier Anna Bligh to allow the city to go back to the old system for water charging.

In a media release to Magnetic Times, Cr Tyrell said he was disappointed at the Premier and local MP, Craig Wallace, for blaming Council for user pays water prices.

“After months of Council working with Queensland Treasury Corporation and other areas of the government to do everything by the book under the State’s rules, the government has washed their hands of any responsibility,” Cr Tyrell said.

“I ask the Premier to please provide us with advice saying we can go back to the way things were without penalty.

“We are putting a request in writing to the Premier asking for formal advice that we can be exempt from the Queensland Competition Authority Statement of Regulatory Pricing Principles for the Water Sector which has forced us down this path.

“We don’t want a lecture about who is responsible for setting the price of water, we just want an indication we can go back to a system that has served us well, without being punished.”

Townsville’s water system previously gave residents the choice between paying a fixed service fee which entitled them to use up to 772KL or a lower service fee and paying for each drop of water used.

“It’s State Government laws that have created the problem, not only here but right across Queensland, and only the Premier can fix it,” Cr Tyrell said.

“Prior to the legislation being introduced, we argued for months that it shouldn’t be a one size fits all across the state.

“We live in the dry tropics, we need the ability to use more water at an affordable rate and unlike most other parts of the state, we have an abundance of supply.

“We stand ready to return to our previous water methodology on the proviso of receiving from the Premier written confirmation we are exempt from the Regulatory Pricing Principles. We want to be exempt from any penalty for what would appear to be breaches under the National Water Agreement and Initiative, National Competition Policy, Queensland Competition Act and all related statutory requirements for Local Government and Water Acts.”

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Mayor asks Anna for return to old water system
 
6 comments
 
chasmac
October 13th 2010
Oh yes, well, hmmmm, that would be a very good and clever question to ask Mr Mayor, if only things could be the same as they were. For example, would we also have to have the same old mayor (or two) as before, the same old local government electoral system, even the same old town of (dare I speak its name) Thuringowa?
Before Anna Bligh comes out of her corner punching at what looks like a beautifully positioned local issue, it would be good to review just what exactly we are trying to achieve with these local arrangements set within overarching state and national plans. Some ratepayers will be said to support whatever policy brings the lowest dollar cost to them, nothing else matters. Others will say the environment or industry or business should be given concessions so that they pay less or get more, cheaply - as an employment stimulus or as a pork barrel, whatever makes the best sound bite.
Like the Murray Darling Basin debate or the larger climate change debate, individual citizens have a huge stake in this water allocation and user pays discussion. So can we have all the cards on the table please, not just the coach's training notes?
 
janet
October 13th 2010
I`m not paying for something I`m not using and why pay for a block of land that hasn`t even got water connected.Get real and get over it ,go and find money somewhere else all you bloodsucking leaches so you can pay your debts that you clocked up but don`t come to me it`s your stuffup so you sort it out.
 
Dottie
October 13th 2010
I hope Mayor Tyrell reminded the premier that we have more water here in NQ than anywhere else in Qld especially with the Burdekin Dam which is overflowing at the moment. I wonder why we do not have resevoirs to store excess water in and if they were covered it would also limit evaporation. It seems the smarter we get the dumber the Government thinks we are. We have more water than ever and it costs us more. I would like to know who sets the actual charge we are paying TCC or the Qld Government? Somehow I still think it is a money making exercise.
 
chasmac
October 13th 2010
Dottie, there may be lots of water in the Burdekin Dam but it's not 'ours' (ie. Townsville ratepayers). We didn't build the dam (the Commonwealth did), we didn't build the channel or channels from which the pump very occasionally brings water to Townsville (the State did) and even the multi-million dollar pipeline was subsidised by the state. Then there's NQ Water which is not 'ours' either - that quasi-government firm owns the Ross Dam, Paluma Dam (both recently upgraded costing multi millions) and all the pipelines between. Council only owns the reticulation system in the streets. I believe that, under those overarching state and federal plans, our council has to compete for water in what is basically a market, against other users (Burdekin agriculture, Bowen Basin coal, other local governments etc.) and pay the going rate.
 
chasmac
October 13th 2010
Mr Editor,
Directly pertinent to this subject may I engage you with a quote from ex-WA Premier Geoff Gallop in a speech delivered as part of the annual Hawke Lecture in Adelaide last night:
"Those who advocate change will need a carefully crafted agenda that is relevant, feasible and acceptable. It needs to take into account the views of the disenchanted on the way things are done and what is prioritised. Such views cannot be swept under the carpet and ignored. Sitting still and waiting for the world to return to where it once was is not an option. However, it will need to transcend the political reform politics associated with the left‐green movement and the right‐populist tendency. It needs to lead and that means engaging with electors and mobilising support for change. To be engaged, electors will need to hear a message they can understand and support and which is based on conviction as much as it is based on attitudes within the electorate. Necessarily it will challenge as much as it responds. Indeed there can be no such thing as a genuine re‐engagement that is free of risk or devoid of conflict."
 
Linda
October 17th 2010
Well the jig is up. Mayor Tyrell caught telling porkies


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