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Redland City to pay with increased water charges for population growth

In 2007 the Queensland Government forcibly acquired the water assets of South East Queensland local governments. Because local governments are not recognised under Australia's constitution they are totally subject to the whim of their respective state governments. That is why the Queensland government was also able to forcibly amalgamate many local governments in 2007 against their objections and the objections of their the constituents1. Having lost control of their water assets, the residents in these areas have now found that they now face hikes in their water bills.

As Redland City Mayor Melva Hobbs explained in a media release of 14 May2 Redland Shire will now have to buy bulk water from the Queensland Government at prices significantly higher than what it now costs council to produce it. Redland Council plans to meet with the state Government in order to have the bulk water pricing regime reviewed. Bob Abbot the Mayor of the Sunshine Coast, another affected council has noted that his constituents will be effectively paying more rates so that water can be taken out of their regions to meet the water needs of other regions, principally Brisbane, which do not have enough water to cater for their own needs3.

The principle reason for the price rises is the cost of construction of a water grid to cater for the increased population largely caused by the Queensland Government. Today's newspapers are full of stories about further blowouts4 of the grid. These blowouts are due to factors, such as rising costs of petroleum and other materials, the economic crisis and the higher cost of credit, all of which should have been anticipated. It would seem that Queensland Premier Anna Bligh's past self-congratulation at the Queensland government's claimed progress in the construction of its water grid was premature5.

Whilst the Queensland state government and the Federal Government continue to recklessly encourage the population growth that is driving up water costs, Redland City, for its part is prudently attempting to slow it down.

The new Redland City Council was elected on 15 March on a platform of opposition to the breakneck pace of development of the previous Seccombe administration. It has moved quickly to reverse those pro-developer pro-growth policies. The Bayside Bulletin of 28 April 2008 reports6 that the new Mayor Melva Hobson plans to withdraw the council's draft planning strategy agreed to by the Seccombe administration which was to cater for an additional 55,000 new residents over the next 20 years, with a population of 188,000 in 2026.

Neverthless, as positive a development as this is, a few local Councils, on their own cannot hope to indefinitely stem the tide of population growth. If this is to happen, the Australian community will have to force the Federal Labor Government to re-think it's plans to increase our anual immigration intake to 300,000

See also: Water prices to surge of 19 June 08 in the Bayside Bulletin, The Australian's April fool's joke of 20 May, More chickens of population growth come home to roost in Queensland of 13 May 08, The Australian laments outcome of Queensland local government elections of 29 Mar 08, Water prices to soar of 15 May 2008


1. See also No Forced Amalgamations

2. See media release of 14 May downloadable as pdf file linked to from the Media Room of May 2008

3. See also More chickens of population growth come home to roost in Queensland of 13 May 08

4. See Water projects' $2.4b blowout in the Courier Mail, Water bills on the rise to pay for Queensland's $9bn grid in The Australian,

5. I can't cite the sources, but I have somewhere newspaper clippings of Anna Bligh congratulating herself and her Government on the progress of the construction of water grids in recent months. She anticipated being able to sell the Queensland Government's expertise in this field to other governments, presumably governments who had also created problems of overpopulation in the first place to be ‘solved’ with water grids.

6. State steps back on figures in the Bayside Bulletin of 28 Apr 08