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Sunwater ‘Squeezing Farmers Dry’

Filed under Breaking News, Front2, Latest News, Rural

Shadow Natural Resources Minister Dale Last

January 24, 2020

The State Opposition has accused Sunwater of “squeezing farmers dry” after the corporation’s annual report showed the utility enjoyed a massive jump in revenue despite the drought.

The LNP said the annual report also showed the State Government-owned corporation had approved large pay rises for its CEO and managers.

Shadow Minister for Natural Resources Dale Last said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk should stop using farmers as “cash cows”.

“Water prices are skyrocketing and every cent Sunwater receives comes at the expense of water users who have to count every drop,” Mr Last said.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk is ultimately responsible for a 56 per cent rise in the Sunwater executive team’s pay – an income increase that most farmers can only dream of.”

The LNP said the annual report showed:

  • Sunwater posted revenue of $335 million from continuing operations in the 2018-19 financial year, up 36 per cent from 2013-14 ($246 million) despite having roughly the same number of customers
  • Operating costs have risen; the cost of contracted services has risen by 158 per cent from $29 million in 2013-14 to $75 million in the last financial year
  • In 2018-19, the salary of the Sunwater chief executive officer was $642,000 (including a cash bonus), up $172,000 on the amount paid five years ago
  • Sunwater’s executive team has enjoyed a combined pay rise of 56 per cent over the same five years

Mr Last said the annual report also showed that electricity prices were putting pressure on Sunwater.

“Sunwater’s report shows that its electricity costs have jumped by $5 million in five years, an extraordinary admission that Labor’s electricity rip-off is hurting the corporations it runs,” Mr Last said.

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