November 21, 2019
South Burnett ratepayers will continue to subsidise Swickers’ water supply by $150,000 a year after Councillors voted to extend a discount on water supply charges to June 2020.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Councillors were told Swickers had requested they be charged a Tier 1 rate ($1.67 per kilolitre) for all their Kingaroy plant’s water consumption.
Officers said Swickers would normally be charged $1.67 per kl for their first 20,000 kilolitres, then $2.24 per kl after this.
Council’s current Budget had been formulated on Swickers’ historical water consumption figures, so the discount Councillors were being asked to approve would have a $153,460 impact on the Budget’s bottom line.
Cr Ros Heit said she was concerned about the effect the discount would have on the rest of the community
While she was in favour of granting Swickers’ request because they were a large employer, she was also mindful doing it would cost Council a six-figure sum.
“It’s something we need to keep an eye on,” Cr Heit said.
Mayor Keith Campbell said the Swickers factory was facing issues with water because of the drought, and had been doing so for the past few years.
This situation was unlikely to improve until the region received good rainfall, which would help replenish the company’s internal water resources.
“The overriding factor is that Swickers are the largest employer in the region and their contribution to the area’s economy is substantial,” Cr Campbell said.
Councillors approved Swickers’ request unanimously.
The situation will be reviewed in June 2020 to decide if the concession should be extended for a further year or come to an end.