Water control warning

WATER users have been warned to guard against possible government moves to take control of local water utilities.

At a water conference in Grafton on Friday, Local Government and Shires Association president Keith Rhoades said a report commissioned by the Commonwealth Government had the potential to result in state governments getting control of water assets.

He said the same happened with electricity distribution over a decade ago and consumers had been paying higher prices ever since.

And he said Sydney Water, which was owned by the State Government, had recently announced it might be increasing prices by between 60 and 70%.

Those rises didn't apply in the rest of the state because those water facilities were owned by councils, he said.

He said the former NSW Labor government and the current government both opposed any moves to take water distribution from councils and urged the Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese to simply shelve his department's report.

"The report is flawed," he said.

Cr Rhoades said there had been about 200 delegates at the conference and it had provided a substantial economic fillip for the Clarence Valley.

Two busloads of delegates had been taken to the Shannon Creek Dam and Cr Rhoades said they were impressed with what the Coffs and Clarence councils had achieved through working together.

"It is now becoming very difficult to do work of this nature because of the environmental constraints," he said.



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