Labor must rule out ‘Tugun tax’ on water bills

6 Mar 2019 3:11 PMJann Stuckey

Consumers in the South-East must not pay more for water when Labor starts running its $1.2 billion Tugun water desal plant next year – more than a decade after it was built.

LNP Shadow Minister for Natural Resources Dale Last said water from the desalination plan cost seven times more to supply than dam water[1].


“Water bills in South-East Queensland are already set to rise by up to $90 in the next three years,” Mr Last warned.


“Turning on Tugun will send Seqwater’s costs soaring and someone will have to pick the bill.


“Taxpayers have already forked out a fortune to pay for the desal plant and they shouldn’t have to bail out Labor again through higher water bills.”


LNP Member for Currumbin Jann Stuckey, who has held successive Labor Governments to account over the desalination plant since its construction in 2009, said Annastacia Palaszczuk should rule out a ‘Tugun tax’ on water consumers.


“Queenslanders are already paying more for water to cover the interest payments on Labor’s massive water debt,” Ms Stuckey said.


“Consumers deserve better than having their hard-earned cash ripped from their pockets just to pay for Labor’s incompetence.


“Annastacia Palaszczuk must guarantee that this water white elephant won’t lead to bill blow-outs across South-East Queensland.”


Desalination plant facts:


  • The plant cost more than $1.2 billion to build in 2009 – but it has effectively been mothballed since construction.

  • The plant only operated for 20 days in 2016-17 and 26 days 2017-18 – producing about 2,000 mega litres in that time[2].

  • The Queensland Government currently owes $583 million on the plant[3].

  • More than $244 million has been spent on interest-only loans[4].

  • The plant costs about $15.2 million per year to run.

  • When running at 100 per cent capacity, the Gold Coast Desalination Plant contributes 133 million litres of water a day (equivalent to 50 Olympic-sized swimming pools) to South East Queensland's drinking water supplies


Media contact: Stuart Sherwin 0438 011226