REPORT RELEASED: The QCA has released the draft report of the Irrigation Pricing Review 2020-24.
REPORT RELEASED: The QCA has released the draft report of the Irrigation Pricing Review 2020-24. Mike Knott BUN051017IRRIGATION1

QCA releases draft irrigation pricing review

THE Queensland Competition Authority has released the draft report of its Irrigation Price Review 2020-2024.

Regional workshops will be held in Monto and Theodore on September 26, Maryborough on October 8 and Murgon on October 9 to discuss the proposed changes.

The review, the first of its kind since 2013, covers irrigation prices for water supply schemes operated by Sunwater and Seqwater from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2024, and makes a range of recommendations to the State Government.

QCA Chair Professor Flavio Menezes said the draft report proposed "cost-reflective” adjustments to existing tariffs, which meant that while some water supply schemes faced potential small price changes, others faced increases.

He said that at the government's instruction, the QCA had proposed two sets of prices for schemes with planned dam safety upgrades: one which included apportioning a share of dam safety upgrade expenditure to irrigators, and one that did not.

"The QCA's draft recommendations, if adopted, would result in price increases for some schemes,” Professor Menezes said.

"It's important to remember that a pricing review has not been done for seven years and this is the first time the government has instructed us to consider apportioning the costs of dam safety upgrades.”

Professor Menezes acknowledged that water pricing was a contentious issue, reiterating that the QCA's recommendations remained subject to change and pricing decisions ultimately rested with the State Government.

"The review's proposed recommendations are limited by the terms of the government's referral and the QCA's obligation under law to consider a range of issues such as efficient resource allocation, equity and regional development,” he said.

"It is likely that some stakeholders will have differing views on the appropriate emphasis to be given to these issues, so I encourage them to participate in the next round of consultation.

"Ultimately, the decision on pricing for irrigators will be made by the government after the QCA submits its final recommendations on January 31 next year.”

The draft report recommended Sunwater improve engagement with customers.

It should do this by "ensuring that customers are engaged on an ongoing basis to provide more focus on what is important to customers over the course of the price path period and to provide a better understanding of customer requirements prior to the next price review; ensuring that its consultation draws a clearer link between proposed expenditure and both prices and service level outcomes for customers; (and) engaging with its customers prior to the next price review to develop a pricing proposal that incorporates its proposed prices for all of its tariff groups with irrigation customers”.

See bit.ly/QCA waterreview for more information and to register for regional workshops.

Proposed price changes

Three Moon Creek

River

Part A: Currently $32.43/ML, rising to $45.83 in 2023-24.

Part B: Currently $4.78/ML, rising to $6.33 in 2023-24.

Groundwater

Part A: Currently $23.58/ML, rising to $36.11 in 2023-24.

Part B: Currently $4.78/ML, rising to $6.33 in 2023-24.

Boyne River and Tarong

Part A: Currently $28.58/ML, remaining at $28.58 to 2023-24.

Part B: Currently $1.77/ML, rising to $1.94 in 2023-24.

Upper Burnett

Regulated section of the Nogo/Burnett River

Part A: Currently $30.58/ML, rising to $43.23 in 2023-24.

Part B: Currently $4.08/ML, rising to $4.62 in 2023-24.

John Goleby Weir

Part A: Currently $28.96/ML, rising to $42.02 in 2023-24.

Part B: Currently $4.08/ML, rising to $4.62 in 2023-24.


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