Michelle Lensink

Third party access to SA Water network

The Weatherill Labor Government continues to drag its feet on providing genuine third party access to SA Water’s infrastructure, as South Australians are forced to pay the highest capital city water prices in the nation.

The Weatherill Labor Government continues to drag its feet on providing genuine third party access to SA Water’s infrastructure, as South Australians are forced to pay the highest capital city water prices in the nation.

One of the purposes of the Water Industry Act 2012 is to enable the full establishment of a third party access scheme which will allow other water suppliers to utilise the SA Water network, providing more competition in what is currently a vertically integrated monopoly.

The Access to Water and Sewerage Infrastructure Report, published in February 2013 by the Department of Treasury and Finance, states that third party access may lead to greater competition for non-household water users:

“… the connection of the pipelines means that access to these services could stimulate competition in the marker for River Murray water entitlements. For larger commercial, industrial and agricultural users, access to SA Water’s bulk water transport services could also facilitate competition between alternative water sources.”

“The Report forced the Weatherill Government to draft a Bill, which was to be released by mid-2013 for public consultation and introduced in Parliament in September 2013,” said Shadow Water Minister Michelle Lensink.

“A draft Bill has only just been released, with the closing date for consultation coinciding with the last parliamentary sitting week before the election, dragging the chain on reform.

“Furthermore, the proposed regime keeps SA Water in a dominant position, with response timeframes designed to frustrate new market entrants. By opening up the market, other opportunities could be provided to growers and industry throughout South Australia.

“However, it is clear that the Weatherill Government remains reluctant to open up the market due to Labor reaping billions of dollars in SA Water dividends over 11 years.

“South Australians deserve a Government with better priorities to get our State back on track.”

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