Allconnex gets the flick
SOME parting shots were fired in Queensland Parliament as the state-government established water retailer, Allconnex, was officially sunk on Tuesday.
Gold Coast City Council voted to leave the water retailer last year citing excessively high bills for ratepayers.
Minister for Energy and Water Utilities Stephen Robertson said the Gold Coast City Council "pocketed" $118 million in rebates rather than pass it on to consumers.
"As history shows, there was an opportunity for the Gold Coast City Council, having earned $118 million profit in 2010-11, to put that profit back into reduced water bills, but they chose not to do so," Mr Robertson said.
"They took the money. They took the $118 million profit that they earned from Allconnex, stuck it in their back pockets and then criticised Allconnex for the water charges that they received a profit from. That is rank hypocrisy."
Mr Robertson went further in his attack on council.
"The fact that they would be run by such a bunch of imbeciles-fundamentally dishonest each and every one of them," he said.
Gold Coast City Council hit back at the remarks on Wednesday.
Mayor Clarke said the minister's comments were not only insulting, but also factually inaccurate and misleading to parliament and the Gold Coast community.
"Using his parliamentary privilege, Minister Robertson again repeated his favourite allegations as to the Gold Coast Councillors being a bunch of "imbeciles" and "the worst Council in Queensland," said Mayor Clarke.
"His claim that council received '$118 million in profits' from Allconnex last year, and that we 'pocketed' this money rather than applying it as a reduction in the water prices is nonsense.
"Had he referred to Allconnex's annual accounts for the year ending 30 June 2011, he would've seen the company incurred a trading loss of $27.6 million.
"Therefore, there were no profits and consequently Allconnex has never paid any dividends to any of its participating councils."
After much debate the bill passed through parliament Tuesday to axe Allconnex.