Motion: Water Prices - 16 May 2018

16 May 2018 6:00 PMSimone Wilson Motion: Water Prices - 16 May 2018

"This House calls on the Palaszczuk Labor government to rule out the Queensland Competition Authority's recommendation to charge more for water."






I rise to speak in support of the motion moved by my colleague the member for Burdekin.

There is a saying: smile in the face of adversity. Since coming to government in 2015, that is what the Palaszczuk government has expected every Queensland family, every Queensland pensioner and every Queensland small business to do. What an adverse Labor government we have here in Queensland. Each year we have been slugged with price increases on necessities such as car registration and electricity and a further slug on water prices.

Since 2015, Queenslanders have had to figure out whether their budgets will allow them to turn on the water they need to cook with, to clean with and to shower with. Queenslanders are saying, 'Can I afford to use water today?' Under this Labor government, the reality is that Queenslanders literally have to watch every drop of water and ration what they use it for to try to avoid more bill shock.

When this motion was moved, I immediately recalled reading an opinion piece in the Sunshine Coast Daily last year. The author, Mr Tony Riddle, was then the chair of the Sunshine Coast branch of Regional Development Australia. I table a copy of the article for the benefit of those opposite.

Tony's views struck a chord with me. His opening comment said it all. He stated—

Sometimes I think the world would be a very different, and better, place if bureaucrats had even the foggiest idea of what life was like in the real world.

Tony talked about how difficult it is for small business to prosper in Queensland, particularly under a Labor government. He rightly pointed out—

The reality is that the continuous rising costs of essential services is making many of our businesses non-competitive, and leading to their ruin. It's the death of a thousand cuts.

Small businesses are the bread and butter of my local economy and my electorate. They try hard to make a profit and earn a modest income. They try hard to engage people in employment. They pay their taxes. However, what do they face, year after year? Higher costs to manage at the hands of the Palaszczuk Labor government.

The reality is that increases in the cost of living place pressures on those who feel it most, that is, those with fixed incomes such as seniors and pensioners. The member for Bancroft should have pointed that out, because that is also experienced in his electorate. In my electorate of Pumicestone, more than half the people are aged 55 years or older. Under this Labor government, how can anyone adequately prepare for or enjoy their retirement when the cost of living continues to skyrocket? Recently, the Sandstone Point Community Association discussed the results of a survey they did to gauge the issues that most concern our community. What generated the most conversation? The answer was that cost-of-living pressures are getting out of hand, particularly the ever-increasing costs of water. Just last week I spoke with a woman in her late 70s who was questioning her latest water bill. She thought genuinely that her bill had an error or a typo in it, but that was not the case.

Just last month, Peter, who is in his early 70s, contacted my office. Not long ago, Peter and his wife moved from Cairns to Bribie Island to make the most of their retirement. Peter was completely shocked when his first quarter water bill was $700. The next one was over $570, even after Peter had watched every drop that came out of their taps, sometimes reading the water metre on the hour every hour, just to try to limit their water consumption and avoid higher bills. Peter and his wife are now reconsidering whether their move to the south-east corner was in their best interests. They are contemplating a shift to somewhere else in the state that has cheaper water. I ask members to think about that. This is forcing our Queensland seniors to uproot their lives and living situations because of the poor planning decisions in the past and a failure to plan for the future. Sadly, that is life under this Labor government. Queenslanders should not have to smile in the face of this adverse (time expired) Government any longer