Media | Local News

Water price surges to crush Wide Bay farmers

12th April 2019

Queensland farmers are staring down the barrel of crushing water price increases under the Palaszczuk Labor Government's pivot to 'cost-reflective' pricing.

The review currently underway by the Queensland Competition Authority highlighted several irrigation schemes facing significant and unstainable price increases.

LNP Shadow Minister for Natural Resources Dale Last said a submission from peak industry group Queensland Farmers' Federation warned of potentially crippling price increases.

"The QFF looked at Seqwater’s own 'cost-reflective' numbers and found significant price increases for farmers already burdened by extreme water and electricity prices*," Mr Last said.

"The projected price increases for some irrigation schemes are unacceptable and would be a hammer blow for farmers and communities.

“Based on the QFF estimates, farmers in the Cedar Pocket and Pie Creek irrigation schemes will be hit hard.

“Cedar Pocket will need to experience a $340/ML water price increase to reach ‘cost-reflectivity’ and the Pie Creek distribution scheme is facing significant fixed cost increases as well.”

LNP MP for Gympie and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Tony Perrett said the proposed 'cost-reflective' pricing in these schemes had the potential to wipe out irrigation in the region.

“We all know water is the lifeblood of our agriculture industries,” Mr Perrett said.

“Schemes such as Cedar Pocket could see more than a century of steady annual price increases until it meets Seqwater's cost-reflective pricing, even though price increases are capped at $2.38/ML per year plus inflation.

“More than 100 years of price increases is clearly unacceptable. Responsibility for this issue rests with the State Labor Government and it needs to step up and solve it.

“Without water, these rural and regional communities will lose production, which will lead to fewer jobs and more expensive food and fibre for all Queenslanders.

"It's time for Labor to step in and guarantee the future of irrigated agriculture in Wide Bay."