We currently have no role in monitoring or regulating urban retail water. In the past, we monitored water prices in south east Queensland to assess whether households and businesses are paying a price that is comparable with the costs of providing the relevant services. We did not set or recommend prices.
We believe that our past public and independent reviews of prices in SEQ assisted in constraining water retailers from exercising their monopoly power at that time.
We recommended a long-term regulatory framework for SEQ to improve the effectiveness of price monitoring. The Queensland Government has not accepted this framework at this stage.
Retail water prices in SEQ are set by the five water retailers. They typically include the following components:
- a sewerage access charge, paid as a fixed charge per property or connection
- a water access charge, paid as a fixed charge per property or connection
- the bulk water price, paid per litre of water used. The bulk water price is set by the Queensland Government to recover the cost of bulk infrastructure such as dams and treatment plants
- retail-distribution water prices, paid per litre of water used. Many water retailers have ‘tiers’ of water prices, meaning that water prices increase as water use increases.
There are five water retailers in SEQ, who are also responsible for water distribution and sewage collection, treatment and disposal:
- Queensland Urban Utilities—servicing the local government areas of Brisbane, Ipswich, Somerset, Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley
- Unitywater—servicing Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast
- Gold Coast City Council
- Logan City Council
- Redland City Council
Gold Coast, Logan and Redland City Council reclaimed responsibility for water and sewerage services following the disestablishment of Allconnex water on 1 July 2012.