The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) today released a final report recommending irrigation prices for water supply schemes operated by Sunwater and Seqwater for the period 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2024.
The report is the product of a 15-month process, with the QCA receiving more than 200 submissions and holding 30 workshops across the state.
“The recommendations, if adopted, would result in price increases for some schemes, but it is important to note that this is the first irrigation pricing review for seven years,” QCA Chair Professor Menezes said.
“As instructed, we are proposing two sets of prices for schemes with planned dam safety upgrades: one which includes apportioning a share of dam safety upgrade expenditure to irrigators, and one which does not.
“The Government will consider both options when deciding on final water prices.”
Professor Menezes said that for schemes below cost recovery, the referral notice to the QCA set out fixed price increases of inflation plus $2.38 per megalitre (from 2020–21, increasing by inflation) and asked the QCA to consider transitioning volumetric prices to the cost-reflective level immediately.
However, the QCA listened closely to affordability concerns from stakeholders and recommends limiting the increase in the combined fixed and volumetric price to inflation plus $2.38 per megalitre (from 2020–21, increasing by inflation).
Professor Menezes said that while the final report marked the end of the QCA’s involvement in this price investigation, it was not the final step in the process of setting irrigation prices.
“Ultimately, the decision on irrigation prices falls to the Government,” Professor Menezes said.
“We have been asked under the QCA Act to provide this advice, and the Government will now determine the recommendations that will be adopted.
“The Government will consider a range of issues when it sets prices for the next pricing period, and our recommendations are one component of that.”
Professor Menezes thanked all stakeholders who participated in the consultation process, especially those who attended workshops and made submissions.
“We are very grateful for the level of collaboration and cooperation that has been evident through this whole process,” he said.
“We would not have been able to produce such a comprehensive report without the input we have received from irrigators, the water businesses, stakeholder groups and other organisations.”
The final report is available on the QCA’s website, at www.qca.org.au.
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