GAWB, as a commercial bulk water supplier, supplies major industrial customers in the Gladstone region and Gladstone Regional Council (GRC). GRC is responsible for supplying residential, commercial and some industrial customers. GAWB's pricing practices are subject to oversight by the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA).
In 2000 the Premier and the Treasurer declared the supply, distribution and treatment of bulk water by GAWB to be government monopoly business activities and referred GAWB's pricing practices in respect of these activities to the QCA for investigation and monitoring.
QCA has completed three investigations of GAWB's pricing practices in 2000, 2005 and 2010 - and developed a regulatory and pricing framework consistent with the objectives of monopoly prices oversight.
The outcomes of the 2010 price review define prices for GAWB's customers for the period 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2015.
On 23 February 2007 the Premier and the Treasurer again referred GAWB to the QCA for investigation of revisions GAWB may propose to make to its existing pricing practices as a result of its intention to supply water from the Fitzroy River as part of its contingent supply strategy.
The Terms of Reference for the current QCA investigation comprised 3 parts, being:
(a) GAWB's proposed recovery of preparatory expenditure for the Fitzroy Pipeline, including the prudence of the pipeline as the appropriate contingent source strategy, the level of efficient costs, the timing of expenditures and the means for including costs in prices in future years;
(b) The proposed criteria for triggering the implementation of the strategy in the event of drought or unexpected increases in demand; and
(c) The changes proposed by GAWB to its pricing practices once the augmentation is completed.
The QCA released its final reports into part (a) and (b) of the investigation. The reports are available on the QCA website. While GAWB made its submission to part (c) of the investigation, the investigation is currently on hold and will be incorporated into a subsequent Price Review investigation.
The QCA is to monitor GAWB's planned prices with regard to the total prudent and efficient cost of service provision for the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2020 - refer QCA website.