Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Clubs Reel at Big Water Bills

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Clubs Reel at Big Water Bills

Article excerpt

Byline: GAIL FORRER-ARNOLD

DO not pay your water bill.

That was the advice yesterday from a senior Sunshine Coast councillor to community and sporting groups drowning in Unitywater accounts.

Up to 100 clubs and groups across the Sunshine Coast have been hit by first-time bills over the past weeks.

Meals on Wheels, sea scouts and retirement villages are also believed to have been affected. Some bills are for thousands of dollars.

UNITYWATER chief Jon Black refused to comment yesterday other than to say it was a matter for the council.

The council's general committee chairman, Russell Green, said that the organisations should not panic.

Cr Green said they should not pay the bills until the council reviewed a report commissioned about a month ago.

The report is due to be tabled at a council meeting next Wednesday.

"Take a breath and wait until the council has the opportunity to consider a staff report on a way to manage these costs, so we can move forward," Cr Green said.

Among those stunned by Unitywater bills are the Noosa District Rugby League Club, which received a bill for $6000, and Noosa District Netball, whose account rose by $1000 to $1400.

Noosa Touch Football has received a $4000 bill, and Noosa Junior Rugby League has one for $2500.

Cr Green said the council had been aware of the Unitywater costs and had commissioned a report from its manager of community partnerships, Eric Moes.

He said water charges that the council had waived, with rebate percentages paid across the region, amounted to about $430,000.

Cr Green said councillors realised the importance of these community subsidies.

"These groups are vital to the community a the costs are unrealistic and unfair," he said.

He believed the council report would make recommendations, including possibly paying the bills.

"Firstly, it would be to lobby Unitywater to say a this is a community service obligation that we did in the past because this is just good business to do it," he said. …

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