June 23, 2020
Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington has called on the South Burnett Regional Council to reconsider a 150 per cent increase in standpipe water costs.
At its June meeting, the Council voted to raise standpipe charges from $4.10 to $10 per kilolitre – a move that provoked widespread anger among standpipe users.
In a letter to South Burnett Mayor Brett Otto, Mrs Frecklington said she understood Council’s concerns about the cost of repairing vandalised standpipes and the need to discourage water carriers from outside the region using the facilities.
However, she believed using Western Downs’ standpipe price of $17.90 per kilolitre for a price comparison was not a good benchmark.
Mrs Frecklington said Toowoomba Regional Council’s charge of $3.79 per kilolitre or the North Burnett’s $4.90 per kilolitre should also be used as benchmarks.
“I agree with the community’s concerns that the large increase during drought conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic is poor timing,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“On behalf of ratepayers who rely on the standpipes, I request Council reconsider this decision.
“Water is an essential service and increases such as these place an unnecessary burden on property owners who need access to water during drought.”
A petition calling on the Council to reconsider the decision has been prepared.
Signed copies of the petition can be dropped off to Jane Erkens at Nanango Real Estate in Drayton Street, Nanango.
The petition can be downloaded here to be printed out (86kb PDF).
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South Burnett Mayor Brett Otto has said he is willing to discuss standpipe water prices with anyone who wants to raise the issue at his weekly public meetings.
The Mayor will be holding his next meeting on Monday, June 29, at the Country Bakehouse and Cafe at 76 Drayton Street, Nanango; the following Monday, July 3, at the Bunya Nut Cafe in Coulson Street, Blackbutt; and Monday, July 10, at the Maidenwell Trading Post in Pool Street, Maidenwell.
All meetings will run from 7:00am to 1:00pm.
“The truth is that council faces a lot of financial challenges and I’m working hard to address these, as I said I would, including through internal budget cuts and by accessing more government funding,” Mayor Otto said last week.
“I am happy to discuss this issue further with any resident. Please call me. My contact details are on my mayor’s Facebook page.
“I’m going to hold public meetings on this in Nanango and Hivesville next week. (I) will let everyone know details of date and venue.”
- Related article: Water Costs More Than Double