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03 March 2011

LNP's water plan means a choice of $17 billion debt or cuts

Minister for Energy and Water Utilities

The Honourable Stephen Robertson

02/03/2011

LNP's water plan means a choice of $17 billion debt or cuts

An LNP plan to link water prices to the inflation rate would result in a $17 billion debt, the Minister for Energy and Water Utilities Stephen Robertson said today.

Mr Robertson said the Government had announced a price path that would pay off the infrastructure that has delivered water security to the south-east of the state by 2027-28.

Under the LNP's policy debt would have grow by then by more than $1.3 billion a year.

Mr Robertson called on LNP leader John Paul Langbroek to reveal what cuts the LNP plans to make to pay off the soaring debt his water policy would create.

"The LNP is simply chasing votes by promising to cap prices at CPI levels. Mr Langbroek needs to explain how the LNP is going to pay for that?,'' Mr Robertson said.

"the truth is that under the LNP's plan the water grid debt would never be paid off. Debt would continue to grow as each year passed.

"It's time for the LNP to tell us what will they cut or what will they hike up to pay off this debt.

"What parts of the reconstruction program will they cut? Will projects like new schools and police stations have to go?"

Mr Robertson again called on SEQ councils to give rebates to ratepayers to offset water bill increases the region's three council-owned water entities are a planning over the next two years.

"Moreton Bay regional council gave ratepayers a 50 per cent rebate this - we want to see more of that,'' he said.

Mr Robertson said councils needed to be honest about how much profit they make from water.

He said the Government sold bulk water to the councils at a $407 million loss this year.

"We know Queenslanders are doing it tough and every dollar counts. That's why the Government has taken steps to put downward pressure on water prices rises,'' he said.

These include:

· Increasing the pensioner rebate to $100

· Creating a water and energy ombudsman to protect consumers rights

· Introducing legislation that makes sure councils issue water bills that are easy to understand and make it clear what they are charging for water and sewerage services.

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