THE start of the new financial year kicked off in Redlands when Mayor Karen Williams opened the Redland Water office at Toondah Harbour on Monday.
The 19,888sq m former CSIRO site on Middle Street, Cleveland, will be home to 30 Redland Water staff, all former employees of water retailer Allconnex, dismantled on July 1.
The other 52 Redland Water staff will be based at the council's Smith Street depot.
Cr Williams said she was glad nobody lost their jobs during the water restructure and congratulated officers on the quick refurbishment of the $3.4million site and two-storey building.
She also welcomed back Redland Water's general manager, Gary Soutar, who said he was pleased to return to the role he held before the 2008-09 state-instigated water amalgamation.
"There are 82 staff returning to council to work at Redland Water and 79 of those are original staff the council lost when the state government restructured the water industry," Cr Williams said.
"It's no secret I was never keen to send off one of the best departments in Redland City and since 2006 I fought to try to stop the state taking away our water assets.
"This is a major win for the council in a number of respects including the wonderful budgetary contributions we are looking forward to from this department and the greater control the council will have over its own asset.
"It will help cushion some of the efficienty targets that weren't achieved last year and the council will now be able to give back some of the money to ratepayers through a reduced increase in rates."
The mayor said under Allconnex the council had been contributing 14 per cent of the retailer's revenue and only getting an 11 per cent return. She said the council would no longer have to subsidise Logan and the Gold Coast.
Councillor Wendy Boglary (Div1), who also attended the building launch, echoed the mayor's sentiment as staff cut a blue-coloured cream cake iced with the words "Welcome Back Redlands Water".
"The really great thing about water returning is that we are going to get more revenue than conservatively estimated when we did the financial strategy," Cr Boglary said.
"This windfall will bring a wonderful unexpected relief to ratepayers."
Although councils will be the water and wastewater service providers, the state government will retain ownership of the bulk water supply, and will also own the drinking water treatment plants.
The government will also continue to set the wholesale price councils pay for water, which is passed on to customers.