Mayor Brett Otto chatting with water users at the Nanango standpipe last month … he later told residents at a street meeting that Council would review the cost increase (Photo: Jane Erkens)

July 14, 2020

South Burnett Regional Council has doubled down on its decision to raise the cost of standpipe water by almost 150 per cent, despite community outrage from some affected consumers.

In a media release on Tuesday, a Council statement blamed poor communication as the root cause of the problem.

“Council has received mixed reactions within the community in relation to the price change and will work on improving its communication on key issues in the future,” the media statement said.

“Any person who wishes to understand the price change further is encouraged to review Council’s Standpipe Charges fact sheet (see link, below), and whilst Council will uphold its existing decision, we see this as the first step in communicating the rationale and facts of the need for this decision.”

The Council statement pointed to “uncontrolled consumption of water from standpipes, particularly when supply restrictions are in place” as one of the reasons for the original review of charges.

It said it had received inquiries by “people across the region” regarding the comparison of scheme charges.

“Council’s water supply schemes are supplied from water allocations and are only designed to support connected users to the networks,” the statement said.

“Allocations are managed through restrictions and tiered pricing to minimise use as much as possible.

“Due to these restrictions, Council does not have capacity to supply a standpipe connection to the Kingaroy reticulation network as the system cannot provide additional uncontrolled water.

“Standpipes are available to support rural households when domestic supply from tanks is under critical conditions.

“As previously mentioned, standpipes are not under any restrictions and consumption is primarily managed through pricing to encourage responsible self-restriction for domestic use only, similar to the purpose of a tiered system pricing on a water scheme.”

The Council statement justified the price rise as a way to encourage responsible water use.

“Over consumption of standpipe water in turn reduces reliability and security of the supply,” the statement continued.

“The justification pricing for standpipes considered a number of factors to establish a reasonable price that ensures the standpipes can continue to support rural residences for critical domestic use whilst minimising the impact on the security of town water supplies.”

South Burnett Mayor Brett Otto promised at a street meeting in Nanango on June 29 that Council would review the standpipe price rise decision passed at the June Council meeting.

There has been no Council meeting held since that date.

The new standpipe prices –  a rise from $4.10 to $10 per kilolitre – came into effect on July 1.

The new charge applies to all standpipes in the region, whether the water is of drinking quality (Nanango, Blackbutt and Benarkin) or non-potable (Hivesville).

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9 Responses to "Standpipe Price Rise Stays"

  1. C Sando  July 14, 2020

    So much for listening to the people, especially in these dry times.

  2. Marnie  July 14, 2020

    This is such a low blow during drought and COVID issues for people.

    The South Burnett council know how to kick a dog when it’s down! Shame on them!

    I know who I will be not be voting for next election xx

  3. Jane Erkens  July 14, 2020

    What a joke, surely these councillors are there to represent us. I have just had a call from a local resident and it would make you cry to hear her story. Are the councillors just trying to show us that they are in charge. Nanango township subsidise the cost of water across the region because the cost of the water from the bores is nowhere near the cost of the water from other areas. So if you want to be fair you also need to subsidise those drought-affected. Councillors seem to be active when raising funds for drought-affected communities from out of the area but time for them to show a little compassion for those at home.

  4. Robyn McNally  July 14, 2020

    Wow, another kick in the guts for ratepayers. Our mayor and all the councillors who voted for this huge increase need to hang their heads in shame.

    In such dry conditions this is just disgusting.

    I will not forget my councillor and the mayor voted for this come election time.

  5. Janice Garwood  July 15, 2020

    If the councillors feel communication was their biggest problem, they are even more out of touch with the public then they thought. You have made life a hell of a lot harder for a lot of people, I know what an impact this will have on us as a family and as a business.

    Such publicity you all got from going out to talk to the public, you had already made your decision and nothing was going to change that.

    I hope you all sleep well at night

    PS Do you think I could put my charges at my business up 150%

  6. Julia  July 15, 2020

    Maybe it’s time to start a petition for a “Vote of NO Confidence”. This would have to be the worst lot of Councillors ever elected to this Council. Four years Mayor Otto and fellow councillors. Four years, the people will not forget!

  7. Greg Pomfret  July 15, 2020

    If both libraries and pools in SBRC cost the ratepayers money then run at a loss and are a poor economic but apparently necessary requirement for each town in the SB, then why is water, an essential item for life, getting a 150% cost increase? Pools and libraries are a luxury. I don’t see a massive price rise for pool entry. Matter of fact, in 32 years I’ve never used a library or council pool in the SB but I do use water every day. I think you should look at this decision and reconsider a modest increase at that of current inflation and not charge the people, who in most cases are ratepayers, extravagant prices for using a essential service, WATER. Please do the right thing for these people.

  8. Bill McIntyre  July 16, 2020

    What is the point in having a CPA as Mayor if his only solution to the first big issue is to almost treble a charge on the community. How many broke businesses took this advice and survived? And oh how I wish Cr Henschen would actually stand up for the community at Council meetings instead of just for morning tea!

  9. Pete Ward  July 17, 2020

    What happens when a bean counter is in charge.


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