WSAA calls for "de-politicisation" of urban water
The release of four reports within a week from different government bodies shows how highly political the urban water industry has become, according to the Water Services Association of Australia.
Adam Lovell, Acting Executive Director of Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) says “The urban water industry welcomes the debate to develop efficient options for the pricing and delivery of water services, as long as it benefits our customers. We trust our water utilities to take care of our health, which they do efficiently and well, but when it comes to water planning for our cities, the industry is hampered by politically motivated decisions.”
“We urge Queensland to stay the course on the National Water Initiative and previous COAG reforms. A return to user pays, full cost reflective pricing must be back on the agenda. We are cautious about the merits and practicality of scarcity pricing at the bulk supply level, and support the view of the National Water Commission that this requires further detailed analysis. To be considered worthwhile it must demonstrate it delivers real benefits to customers.”
"Reform of regional Queensland and New South Wales urban water services is a priority issue. The regionalisation of Victorian water utilities is largely a success story and Tasmania has shown its commitment to reform with three new utilities for the whole state. These reforms deliver economies of scale, sharing of resources, more efficient capital investment and the ability to attract skilled staff to an incredibly important part of the Australian economy.
“WSAA supports independent economic regulation and continued removal of political interference in pricing.”
According to the WSAA, investment in maintaining and renewing critical infrastructure should not be constantly delayed by short term thinking. ‘Just too late’ maintenance doesn’t work and future generations will face increased costs as a result.
“De-politicisation of urban water is a priority, and reform in the water supplies of regional New South Wales and Queensland is essential. All reforms must benefit our customers - that is the industry’s main focus,” concludes Lovell.