PROFITS taken by the Gold Coast City Council from its water business made the city’s water bills the most expensive in the country, says Allconnex CEO Andrew Foley (pictured).
Speaking at an Urban Development Institute of Australia breakfast at the Gold Coast Turf Club this morning, Foley delivered an analysis of what he called the ‘myths’ told about his organisation.
Foley says the Allconnex disconnect will cost about $80 million (some observers have estimated it will cost $200 million) and showed the Gold Coast City Council played a leading role in making the city’s water bills among the country’s most expensive.
His figures, taken over five years, show the council took significantly more profit from its water operations than neighbour Brisbane.
Customers on the coast have paid on average $185 more than Brisbane customers per annum and Foley says this is because of the large amount of dividends the Gold Coast council took from its water business.
Foley says Gold Coast customers paid $255 more in profit to council than their Brisbane counterparts and showed 2008-09 as an example, where $420 from each customer went directly to the council as profit.
“If the Gold Coast was paid the same dividend as Brisbane, the average punter on the Gold Coast would be paying $70 less on their bills than Brisbane, not $185 more,” says Foley.
He says water bills will continue to rise by $80 per year over the next five years. His statistics showed the price increase undertaken by Allconnex in its first year was smaller than the previous three years under the Council-run Gold Coast Water.
“The claim that Allconnex made Gold Coast water rates the most expensive – that is rubbish,” says Foley.
“They were already the highest.”
“Gold Coast customers are paying more than the rest of the country and that didn’t happen because Allconnex appeared in 2010.”
Foley says Redcliffe residents faced a similar issue when their water bills skyrocketed after the formation of Unity Water, but instead of dismantling Unity, the Moreton Bay Regional Council decided to pay $25 million of its $26 million dividend back to ratepayers to offset the cost increases.