July 10, 2018
Shadow Minister for Natural Resources Dale Last has called on the State Government to rule out rises to the cost of rural irrigation water in Queensland.
Mr Last said farmers and rural communities were in the dark about potential increases in costs from next year following moves to change the prices SunWater and Seqwater charge to supply rural irrigation water.
“Water is the lifeblood of agriculture and our food and fibre exports are now worth $10 billion a year,” Mr Last said.
“But the double whammy of skyrocketing electricity prices and water pumping costs is killing productivity on Queensland farms.
“A new price path for regional water was flagged in November last year, but the Labor Government has failed to tell farmers and rural communities how much they will be paying for irrigation water in the future.”
Mr Last said the rural irrigation water price paths were based on recommendations from the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA), but the State Government still had not referred the issue of water irrigation to the QCA.
“For the Labor Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham to be unable to tell Queensland irrigators what they are going to be charged for water from July 1 next year is shameful,” Mr Last said.
“For Minister Lynham to not have even referred the issue to the QCA yet is inexcusable.
“Farmers have no faith in the QCA or the Labor Government after their failure to bring relief from crippling electricity prices for irrigators.”
Mr Last said if elected, an LNP Government would develop of a 30-year water security plan for Queensland in consultation with industry, Seqwater, SunWater and local councils to deliver affordable water, as well establishing a mechanism for reviewing the current price targets.