Lockyer MP wants water charges frozen for farmers
WITH no end to dry conditions in sight, it is understandable that water is on the brain.
Lockyer MP Jim McDonald is calling on water allocation charges for users of the Lake Clarendon and Atkinson Dam irrigation schemes to be removed.
In parliament two weeks ago he put a question on notice to Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Anthony Lynham.
"This important decision could be the difference between some farmers selling up or being able to continue,” Mr McDonald said.
"This is a dire situation.
"I ask the minister to strongly consider giving these farmers a much needed break.”
The issue is compounded by the seriously low levels of water at each dam.
Although Mr McDonald conceded this was only a short-term fix, he looked towards the Lockyer Valley and Somerset Water Collaborative as a way to secure long-term water security for the region.
"It's not going to happen overnight with the collaborative but I'm very confident it will happen at some stage,” he said.
An information forum will be held this week in Gatton by Seqwater concerning irrigation pricing for the Central Lockyer Water Supply Scheme.
The current prices were set in 2013 based on a review undertaken by the Queensland Competition Authority on behalf of the Queensland Government.
The next price review is expected to commence soon and Seqwater is due to provide its regulatory submission to the QCA by the end of October.
Seqwater is inviting anybody concerned to attend the forum to discuss how the government's expected pricing policies have determined their costs and proposed prices.
They will address any concerns and answer questions and welcome feedback.
"It's really important that people go to this meeting,” Mr McDonald said.
"It's critical that people get along and talk about the impact of this stuff.
"These charges are going to be the difference between people continuing to farm or closing up because the margins are just so tight now.”
The forum will be held at the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre at 34 Lake Apex Drive tomorrow (Thursday) at 6.45pm for a 7.15pm start.