Michelle Lensink

SA Upper House votes to establish price of water inquiry

Legislation to establish an independent inquiry into South Australia’s crippling water prices passed the Upper House of State Parliament last night.

“The Liberal Party promised to establish an independent inquiry into the price of water in South Australia after the former head of ESCOSA Paul Kerin made explosive allegations of price gouging by the Weatherill Government,” said Shadow Minister for Water Michelle Lensink.

“Last night the Upper House cross benchers joined the Liberals to pass legislation to establish this critical inquiry.

“Former Essential Services Commission chief executive Paul Kerin believes the Weatherill Government has over valued SA Water’s asset base to artificially inflate the price of water.

As at 1 July 2013, SA Water’s Regulated Asset Base was valued at over $11 billion.

“If Mr Kerin is correct, the Weatherill Government is taxing South Australians hundreds of dollars a year through artificially inflated water prices.

“Mr Kerin’s evidence is consistent with the fact that the people of Adelaide pay the highest water prices of all capital cities and that the State Government pocketed $291.5 million in dividends last year.”

The latest CPI data confirms that over the past 12 years, water prices have risen by 236 per cent despite inflation only being 41 per cent during this time.

“Mr Kerin claim that the Weatherill Labor Government decided to overvalue SA Water’s asset base to plug holes in its leaking budget must be independently assessed.

“Mr Kerin’s has also claimed the Weatherill Labor Government and senior government bureaucrats have no interest in serving the long-term interests of consumers.

“It is quite clear that SA Water is being used as a cash cow and that the Weatherill Labor Government has no interest in reform, despite there being opportunities to do so.”

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