The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) and its members have welcomed the Queensland LNP’s commitment to reduce water prices for the state’s irrigators by 20 per cent if elected in October, but require modelling to provide scheme specific costs using the LNP’s new approach.
The LNP intend to implement recommendations from the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) to reduce water costs by transitioning SunWater from an annuity to a regulated asset based (RAB) approach for financing asset renewals.
QFF Water and Energy Policy Committee Chair Michael Murray welcomed a reduction in water prices for farmers but said there must be economic viability behind any changes to water costs to ensure the sustainability and prosperity of agriculture in Queensland.
“While RAB costs have not yet been modelled for any assets, QFF is looking forward to exploring alternative pricing models and clarifying what long-term contribution any changes would make to affordable and sustainable rural water prices,” Mr Murray said.
“Until that work is done, and we are fully aware of all the implications, we as a sector cannot commit to the RAB approach as our preferred approach, but it is pleasing to see the LNP’s proactive stance in this area.”
“Regardless of this announcement, QFF is calling on all sides of politics to commit to ensuring Queensland irrigators are not paying above “lower-bound” costs, while recognising there are some schemes where users are still a long way off from being able to afford this and must still be supported.”