Energy Minister Mark McArdle on the Fraser Coast last year.
Energy Minister Mark McArdle on the Fraser Coast last year. Alistair Brightman

Farmers slugged with outrageous increase to irrigation cost

FRASER Coast farmers will receive a rebate from the State Government after irrigation costs skyrocketed this year.

Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle said the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) decided to increase water usage charges by $30 per megalitre in the Lower Mary area.

Mr McArdle said this change would affect dozens of farmers on the Fraser Coast, and cost them thousands of dollars.

"Agriculture is part of the four pillar economy, and it was simply not sustainable to have increases like this imposed on our farmers," Mr McArdle said.

Lower Mary channel irrigation schemes will receive a rebate to ensure water bill increases for 2012-2013 are capped to CPI plus $2 per megalitre, he said.

Mr McArdle said the rebate only related to 2012-2013 water usage.

"When the actual 2012-2013 water usage is known, Sunwater will undertake an assessment of each customer's water bill to calculate the rebate, without the need for the customer to apply to Sunwater for relief," he said.

"The one-off rebate will be applied to water bills that have been paid in full where the increase is more than CPI plus $2 where compared to charges that would have been incurred for actual 2012-2013 water usage at 2011-12 prices."



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