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Unitywater puts price hike on ice

Chief executive officer Jon Black earned $367,422 in the 12 months to June 30.
Chief executive officer Jon Black earned $367,422 in the 12 months to June 30.

UNITYWATER has put price hikes on ice, announcing a freeze on its water and sewerage fees and charges for the next financial year.

But despite the unusual timing, less than two weeks out from the council election, Unitywater CEO Jon Black confirmed the decision was not related to the upcoming election.

"Under a participation agreement we are compelled to provide to our participating councils (Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast) next year's budget by April 15 and we passed the decision this week," Mr Black said. "This decision has nothing to do with the election and of course the election was changed from a previous date."

Mr Black said the decision was about showing they were listening to their customers and the council and they were still committed to providing the best for customers.

"I don't think anyone likes receiving a bill and we know people are doing it tough with the rise in the cost of living so we are doing our bit to ease the pressure," he said.

"We've been able to deliver a price freeze just two years after commencing operations due to a concerted effort to keep costs down and realising the benefits of increased economies of scale.

"We won't compromise on the quality of our services or investment in essential infrastructure and we have an obligation to provide a return to our owner councils.

"Nonetheless, we've been able to identify substantial savings through improvements to the way we do business, our tendering and procurement processes and bundling projects across both regions, to give our customers a break from price rises in 2012-13."

Mr Black said the freeze would apply to all Unitywater prices, with the exception of trade waste, recycled water and a small number of miscellaneous fees and charges.

The announcement does not apply to the State Government's bulk water charges which are not controlled by Unitywater.

Mr Black said the price freeze would have no impact on Unitywater's around the clock service delivery or the roll out of its $120. million capital works program in 2012-13.

He was also quick to reassure customers they need not fear being slugged with big increases in 12 months time.

"Our aim has always been, and will continue to be, to keep prices as low as possible," Mr Black said.

"This is early days for our organisation and Unitywater will continue its efforts to identify savings and pass those benefits on to its customers as quickly as possible." 

Topics:  council, election, unitywater, water prices


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