Moree Council’s flood of money going back to residential rate-payers

MOREE Plains Shire Council has committed to a 50 percent rebate on residential water users’ upcoming water bills.

The discounted water usage bills will begin arriving in letterboxes over the coming weeks.

The decision, with unanimous support from all Councillors, was made at Council’s ordinary council meeting last Thursday – a way for Council to give back to the community in a time where many in the Shire are doing it tough due to continuing drought conditions and an economic downturn.

The rebate will return approximately $500,000 to the Moree Plains community, and translates to an average of $150 cash back per assessment, which will be automatically applied to each bill. 

Mayor Katrina Humphries said the decision was made following record water usage in the summer quarter, which resulted in an unbudgeted spike in water revenue.

“Many residents have had to use extra water to keep their gardens and lawns alive during this awful drought,” Cr Humphries said.

“With funds surplus to operational needs, and a lot of households doing it tough, Council decided to provide a one-off 50 percent rebate on the bill for March-May, putting the money back into the pockets of those that had spent it, and hopefully providing a boost to our local economy.”

Council previously sought to undertake a local economic stimulus package through the $1m federally-funded Drought Communities Programme but were advised their project was ineligible. 

“We are restricted with water fund revenue, as it can only be spent on water infrastructure and operations,” Cr Humphries said.

“We cannot spend it on roads or a new playground, for instance. 

“With a large number of water infrastructure projects utilising Council and State Government funds already budgeted for, it was unanimous that the additional revenue be used to fund the 50 percent rebate.

“It is rare for local government to be able to have the chance to reward its residents, and Council is delighted that we are able to provide this one-off boost,” she said.

The rebate will be automatically applied as a deduction on all residential water accounts with consumption for the March-May period.

As such, water users should pay the full amount on their accounts as per usual.

The rebate will not be applied to State and Federal Government owned properties.

Media Release: May 27, 2019