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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Bligh Government moves forward with SEQ water reforms

    Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Wednesday, July 08, 2009

    Bligh Government moves forward with SEQ water reforms

    Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Stephen Robertson said the Bligh Government has agreed in principle to adopting water reforms measures proposed by Councils in South East Queensland.

    “In May, the Government asked the Council of Mayor’s South East Queensland (CoMSEQ) to put forward an alternative water industry structure, after they suggested they could save money on implementing reforms.

    “The Government has now agreed in principle on a new framework for the institutional reform of urban water service delivery, specifically in respect of the delivery of retail and distribution services.

    “Councils have put their views forward and we have listened.

    “Both the State Government and Councils acknowledge that water reforms are necessary to increase economies of scale across larger networks, improve price regulation and improve regional approaches to planning and performance management.

    “We have taken on board the key concerns of Councils and accepted their preference that retail functions, like customer management, should continue to be provided by the same business that maintains and operates the pipe network,” Mr Robertson said.

    “The Government will now work with councils to deliver the establishment of three geographically separate, vertically integrated retailer-distributors which will be owned by their constituent Councils.”

    Mr Robertson said he had advised CoMSEQ that the Bligh Government is prepared to accept their proposed reform model on the basis of the following composition of the new entities:

    1. Brisbane, Scenic Rim
    2. Gold Coast, Logan, Redlands
    3. Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay, Ipswich, Somerset, Lockyer.

    “These compositions represent an even balance of size in terms of customer base, and also creates three entities with geographic contiguity.”

    The COMSEQ model delivers on the Government’s original water reform objectives – a smaller number of stronger water entities servicing a larger area and able to respond to the demands of growth in South East Queensland.

    Prior to the commencement of the Government’s reform measures, South East Queensland had 21 different water entities spread across the then 17 South East Queensland local Councils, each with different approaches to managing water.

    Mr Robertson said the benefits of implementing these reforms, include

    • improved outcomes for customers, under clear customer service standards, a rigorous regulation of pricing and asset management.
    • better career paths for water industry workers in larger organisations;
    • efficiency gains through economies of scale and scope leading to better network planning and maintenance; and
    • better performance monitoring including “competition by comparison” where the key performance indicators of each entity are compared.

    “While we may previously have had different views on aspects of the structure, the State and Local Governments have agreed there are better ways to manage this $10 billion sector.

    “The Bligh Government looks forward to continued open and constructive negotiations with Councils as we strive to deliver a new era of water security and quality, together,” Mr Robertson said.

    ENDS

    Media Contact:3225 1819