The Queensland Government’s decision to withdraw water dividends and tax equivalent payments has provoked an angry response from Gladstone Regional Council, who has accused the Government of a $4.19 million per annum grab’.

Gladstone’s Mayor Gall Sllers said the decision was ‘another slap in the face for ratepayers’ and would equate to a $132 per year increase to the average water bill.

"This decision now leaves the ratepayers of the Gladstone region, along with those in Mt Isa, as the only other Category 1 Water Authority; being the only residents in Queensland to not see the return of profits and commercial pricing to their communities."

"We will respond in the strongest possible terms to challenge this decision and request attendance of the Premier, Treasurer and Minister McArdle at a meeting of stakeholders to negotiate an alternative arrangement.”

The Mayor said there had been no guarantees that the Gladstone community would see these funds returned in any form, with the Minister advising that the State Government would decide where the money would be spent.

"We don't want this going to the South East. It must be returned to our community," she said.