The Queensland Farmers’ Federation has called the referral notice handed down today by the Queensland Government directing the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) to investigate the state’s irrigation schemes a ‘mixed bag’ for Queensland’s irrigators.
The QCA’s examination of water prices in SunWater and SEQWater irrigation schemes across the state will determine new prices for irrigators for the 2020-24 period.
QFF President Stuart Armitage said analysis of the bulk and distribution services provided by SunWater and SEQWater shows significant variation in cost increases for irrigation schemes.
“A number of schemes will face significantly higher prices because of cost increases to maintain scheme assets, rising electricity and insurance costs and the impacts of lower water demand forecasts. It also looks like irrigators will be asked to pay for the implementation of the 2015 recommendations made by the Inspector-General Emergency Management,” Mr Armitage said.
“The QCA will investigate pricing options to include essential dam safety upgrades leaving irrigators to contribute towards what could be very large expenditures for dam safety upgrades.”
“However, QFF welcomes the government’s decision to not include the costs of providing recreation facilities in the notice.”
With assistance from the Queensland Government, QFF will undertake independent assessments of each bulk and distribution scheme costs and the pricing implications for the state’s irrigators.
“Workshops are planned in a number of locations across Queensland over the coming months to present the cost analysis to all schemes to help them prepare their submissions to the QCA in the new year,” Mr Armitage said.
“The QCA’s Draft Report is due to the Queensland Government by 31 August 2019 and their Final Report by 31 January 2020. In the meantime, existing water prices will be escalated by CPI.”