Many of Victoria’s water authorities today released consultation papers on their draft water plans for public comment, which includes their plans for future investment in water and sewerage infrastructure.
The four-month consultation period will give all Victorians the chance to review their local water plan and proposed water pricing which will cover proposed services and prices for the period from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2018.
Minister for Water Peter Walsh said he strongly encouraged all members of the community to provide comment on the draft plans which will outline the pricing structure for water.
“Victorians have an opportunity to provide their feedback on how much they will pay for their water in the future, and what services will be included in this cost.
“The provision of water services is an important economic infrastructure for households and businesses and the Victorian Government encourages active feedback,” Mr Walsh said.
Mr Walsh said Melbourne water retailers had proposed price increases of between 19.4 per cent and 21.8 per cent over the five-year period, well down on the doubling of water bills experienced under Labor’s current water plan.
“The steep jump proposed for Melbourne water consumers reflects the heavy impact of building Labor’s desalination plant which will cost $654 million per year before any water is taken,” Mr Walsh said.
“The majority of Victoria’s regional water corporations have proposed small price increases over the next five year period which will now be assessed by their communities and the regulator.
“One external driver for proposed price increases is the impact of the Federal Government’s carbon tax pushing rising energy costs on water corporations’ pumping and water treatment infrastructure,” Mr Walsh said.
Public comment is sought on these plans prior to submission of final Water Plans in September 2012 to the Essential Services Commission (ESC) – the independent price and service standards regulator for the Victorian water industry.
“The ESC, as the independent umpire, will be seeking this customer and stakeholder feedback prior to making its final decisions on pricing,” Mr Walsh said.
“The State Government and the government-owned water utilities are working together to plan and invest in the state’s water needs now and in the future.
“The planned consultation process on the draft water plans is extensive, with water utilities committed to open and transparent discussion and engagement.”
The water plans which are currently in use by Victoria’s water utilities conclude on 30 June 2013.
“I urge all members of the public to play an active role in reviewing their water utility’s plan and submit their thoughts,” Mr Walsh said.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
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