QLD is the Water Wise State
While the Garden Awards were recognising the leading water wise residents in the state, the Premier, Anna Bligh has implemented changes to legislation banning taxes on water tanks.
Department of Housing tenants from across North Queensland who use water-efficient techniques to keep their gardens thriving were recognised as part of the department’s 2007 Water-Wise Garden Awards. A total of 1,118 entries were received State-wide.
Housing Minister Robert Schwarten said the awards were a great way to reward the gardening and water-saving efforts of proud tenants from across the area.
“While not all parts of the State are suffering from drought, the theme of this year’s awards recognised that water is a precious resource for all Queenslanders,” Mr Schwarten said.
“The Garden Awards recognise tenants who show pride in their gardens while reflecting and promoting water-wise principles such as using compost and mulch, and selecting plants that require little water and fertiliser.
“The winners were selected from the more than 62 gardens entered this year by tenants from the North Queensland region.”
South East Queensland is in the middle of the worst drought on record with dam levels recorded recently at just under 21 per cent. Many homeowners have installed water saving devices, and have fears they may be taxed.
Premier Anna Bligh has therefore announced that local councils will be banned from taxing water in residential tanks following changes to Water Legislation.
Major measures in the legislation include prohibiting taxes on water in residential tanks and allowing landlords who have installed water-saving devices in rental properties to have individual meters installed on rental properties.
“This is about being smart and fair with our water-saving measures,” Ms Bligh said.
“That’s why the State Government is spending more than $9 billion to build a South East Queensland water grid and ensure security of supply.
“These new measures are about spreading the load and making sure people who are doing the right thing are treated fairly.”
Ms Bligh said some homeowners had raised concerns that water in their tanks might be taxed in future.
“The Bill will ensure that rainwater collected from a roof for a rainwater tank will belong entirely to the homeowner and no tax or charge can be levied.
“Homeowners who have gone out and installed a water tank can now have certainty that their water is their own and can’t be taxed.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Paul Lucas said the legislation meant landlords who had fitted water-saving devices to rental properties could charge tenants in individually metered properties for water consumption.
“This is another measure designed to spread the load and encourage homeowners and renters alike to watch their water usage,” Mr Lucas said.
“Landlords will continue to be responsible for paying fixed costs of supply of water to premises.
“But if they’ve done the right thing and installed water-saving devices like reduced-flow shower heads and dual flush toilets they’ll be able to charge tenants for their water use.
“This means – just like homeowners – the responsibility for taking control of their water use will rest with the person using it.”
Mr Lucas said under the legislation fixing water leaks would be classified as an emergency repair, and must be done within 24 hours.
Minister for Natural Resources and Water Craig Wallace said the demand management and water efficiency measures would be implemented as a priority in South East Queensland and phased in across the rest of Queensland.