Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

ROCKY REGION TO FACE YEARS OF WATER TORTURE Water Bills Predicted to Rise by 10% a Year; FRW Bills Predicted to Soar 10% a Year for Next Decade

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

ROCKY REGION TO FACE YEARS OF WATER TORTURE Water Bills Predicted to Rise by 10% a Year; FRW Bills Predicted to Soar 10% a Year for Next Decade

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Taylor adrian.taylor@capnews.com.au

A SUGGESTION that water rates in the Rockhampton region will rise at 10% a year for the next decade had some councillors gasping for air yesterday.

"I find it very scary," Cr Glenda Mather said during a presentation which predicted that people who currently paid $600 a year would be charged $1500 in 10 years' time.

The report, presented by Fitzroy River Water executive director Neil Hanschen, quoted a prediction by consultants that waste water charges would also rise significantly. Those currently paying $500 for sewerage charges would be hit with a bill for $1250 by 2020, the report says.

Mr Hanschen said the projections reflected additional costs levelled by other tiers of government and were seen as what was amost likely to happena.

Cr Mather said there were a lot of unhappy people after the latest round of increases in the region, which averaged 10% for water and 5.3% for sewerage.

"I am concerned that there are so many inconsistencies out there and a lot of people are under stress," she said, citing the case of pensioners living in units at the coast who were outraged that their bills had rocketed from $85 to $780.

Mr Hanschen said people in units were now paying access charges athe same as pensioners who live in houses have always donea. He said everyone was in charge of their bill a they chose how much water to use.

And he said if anyone was concerned that the charges were wrong, FRW was happy to have their water meters independently tested.

"If the meter is wrong, we will refund the bill. If the meter is right, they will have to pay the cost of the test," he said.

Cr Sandra O'Brien joined the debate with a statement that she had received calls from Gracemere where people were convinced they were being asked to pay too much. …

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