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MP tells councillors to 'get their balls back from the CEO'

Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen tells councillors to "go and get their balls back from the CEO” over their decision to scrap  the corporate model of Wide Bay Water.
Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen tells councillors to "go and get their balls back from the CEO” over their decision to scrap the corporate model of Wide Bay Water. File

TED Sorensen has slammed the council for its decision to scrap the corporate model of Wide Bay Water.

"I think the rest of the councillors need to go and get their balls back from the CEO," Mr Sorensen said.

"(Councillor) George (Seymour, who voted against the decision) was the only one to show any brains."

Mr Sorensen was the Mayor of Hervey Bay City Council when water and sewerage services first moved to a corporate model in 2002.

He remembers the state of water services in Hervey Bay before Wide Bay Water, such as when Coconut Grove Caravan Park erupted one day in a fountain of sewerage from a busted pipe.

Broken mains, illegal connections and major leakage problems were just a few of the issues the HBCC had to deal with, and after years of research, they decided the corporate model was the way to fix them.

Ten years later, and many of these problems are a thing of the past, and as he reflected on the good work done by WBW, Mr Sorensen could not hide his disappointment in the decision to abandon the corporate experiment.

Fraser Coast Regional Council chief executive officer Lisa Desmond.
Fraser Coast Regional Council chief executive officer Lisa Desmond. Alistair Brightman

"It is a backward step," he said.

"Water and sewerage is one of the most important things for a council to get right."

After being told of Mr Sorensen's remarks, Fraser Coast Regional Council chief executive officer Lisa Desmond said she had no comment.

Mayor Gerard O'Connell said the decision came purely from the councillors.

"It was the elected members doing what we were elected to do."

Councillor Rolf Light said he was satisfied he got all the information he requested in order to make a decision on the facts.

Councillor Stuart Taylor said he was disappointed in the comments from Mr Sorensen.

"If he had a genuine concern over WBW I would have expected this could have been raised prior to the decision being made, not criticising it after the fact," he said.

Cr O'Connell acknowledged the great work done by WBW employees over the years, but said the councillors needed to make their decisions based on what would make water and sewerage services the most viable for the years to come.

He said two sets of independent advice from consultants, commissioned by WBW and then the council, advised that the current corporate model was not the most viable.

Mr Sorensen said "the problem with consultants is they will go with a Rolls Royce, gold-plated system, and then charge a 10% commission".

The vote to return the management of water and sewerage services to the control of the council was passed by a vote of nine to one, with Cr Seymour voting against the move and Cr Phil Truscott absent.

Topics:  fraser coast regional council, george seymour, hervey bay city council, misogyny, ted sorensen, wide bay water


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