Bjelke-Petersen Dam is the main storage on the Barker-Barambah water supply scheme … it is currently at 5.3 per cent capacity

October 23, 2019

A workshop held in Murgon recently for irrigators has raised a number of concerns about proposals in the Queensland Competition Authority’s (QCA) current review of irrigation pricing.

The irrigators are serviced by the Barker-Barambah water supply scheme and the Boyne River and Tarong water supply scheme.

The Barker-Barambah water supply scheme has more than 160 bulk customers holding medium and high priority water access entitlements.

The Boyne River and Tarong water supply scheme has 155 bulk customers.

Irrigators from both schemes met at the South Burnett PCYC in Murgon on October 9 to discuss a draft report prepared by the QCA.

Concerns raised included:

  • The level of price increases proposed and their affordability,
  • Paying a fixed price for water during times of no supply, and
  • The apportionment of costs for dam safety upgrades, and the fact upgrades had been costed without taking annual inflation into account.

The irrigators also raised concerns about insurance costs, saying the proposal did not reflect historical claims experienced by the Barker-Barambah scheme.

It was suggested that climate events in North Queensland were affecting insurance costs for schemes in southern Queensland which would have a different risk profile.

Concerns were also raised that the QCA may incorporate an access charge in its final recommended prices, despite limited consultation undertaken by SunWater.

A statement by the QCA said it was yet to form any opinion on the issues raised but, as appropriate, they would be addressed in the QCA’s final report.

Final submissions on the QCA’s draft report and access charges issues paper are due by November 4.

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