Michelle Lensink

Water Bonuses - Nice work if you get it

The revelation that SA Water executives have been receiving massive bonuses for delivering the most expensive water in Australia highlights the need for an independent inquiry into all aspects of water pricing in South Australia.

"It beggars belief that the Weatherill Government has rewarded handsomely paid SA Water executives with bonuses whilst South Australians pay through the nose for water," said Shadow Minister for Water Michelle Lensink.

"SA Water has 249 employees earning more than $112,600 a year amongst its almost 1500 staff who are collectively paid $126.5 million a year.

"To put SA Water’s employee numbers in perspective the private sector provides around 90 per cent of SA Water’s capital projects and accounts for more than half of its operating expenditure.

"The people of Adelaide pay the highest water prices of all capital cities and the State Government pocketed $291.5 million in dividends last year.

"This week legislation to establish an independent inquiry into South Australia’s crippling water prices passed the Upper House of State Parliament.

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

"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.

"Mr Kerin’s 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 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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