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Irrigators Face 46pc Rise

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A draft report from the Queensland Competition Authority recommends increasing the cost of water from the Barker-Barambah irrigation scheme from $27.60 to $40.34 per megalitre by 2023-24

September 9, 2019

Irrigators using the Barker-Barambah Irrigation Scheme could see their water costs rise by 46 per cent if the State Government accepts recommendations from the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA).

The QCA has been undertaking a review of all charges levied by State-owned water utilities SunWater and Seqwater since October 31 last year.

It released its draft report into rural irrigation scheme pricing on Monday.

The report makes 24 recommendations and sets out proposed five-year pricing plans for SunWater and Seqwater’s irrigation schemes to 2023-24.

The QCA will hold a series of public consultation meetings with Queensland irrigators during September and October to explain their recommendations and gather feedback.

Barker-Barambah and Boyne River-Tarong irrigators will be able to meet with QCA officers in Murgon on October 9.

Registrations for this workshop can be made online

The QCA is also calling for additional public submissions before November 4 so it can present a final report to the State Government on January 31.

In its draft report, the QCA recommends almost no price changes for Boyne River-Tarong irrigators during the coming five years.

However, Barker-Barambah irrigators can expect to see a 46 per cent increase, and users of the Redgate Uplift portion of the scheme a 40 per cent rise.

At present, Barker-Barambah irrigators receive no water due to the drought, but are still required to pay for the fixed costs of running the scheme.

The QCA recommends the proposed price increases be introduced gradually to reduce the effect of price rises from one year to the next.

The increases are also likely to affect South Burnett Regional Council, which draws water for Murgon and Wondai town residents from Bjelke-Petersen Dam.

A chart maps out proposed water price increases for Barker-Barambah and Redgate Uplift irrigators over the coming five years (Source: QCA)

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