Michelle Lensink

Weatherill's water bill pain hits South Australians

A damning ESCOSA report has revealed the extent to which South Australians are struggling with cost of living pressures under Premier Weatherill and Labor.

The total number of SA Water hardship customers (customers unable to pay their accounts due to financial difficulties) increased from 1,445 in January 2012 to 3,618 by June 2013 – an increase of 150 per cent since the beginning of 2012.

From 2011-12 to 2012-13 alone, the typical South Australian residential water bill rose by 31 per cent.

ESCOSA reports also noted that:

? In 2012-13, SA Water’s net profit after tax ratio is one of the highest of the capital city water utilities;

? SA Water’s customers experienced more sewer main and property connection breaks and chokes than comparable Australian water utilities; and,

? SA Water’s customers experienced slightly more and longer water supply interruptions than the average of comparable Australian water utilities.

"This is a staggering increase in the number of SA Water hardship customers in just 18 months and a damning assessment of the management of South Australia’s water utilities after 12 years of Premier Weatherill and Labor," said Shadow Water Minister Michelle Lensink.

"The Labor Government’s decision to double the size of the $2.2 billion desalination plant against independent advice has also driven up water prices and increased cost of living pressures.

"The reality is that increasing cost of living pressures are a by-product of a mismanaged economy.

"Under Premier Weatherill, SA leads the nation in an unenvied category – we still have the highest water prices in Australia and South Australians are continuing to foot the bill for 12 years of financial mismanagement and reckless spending from this Labor Government.

"South Australians deserve better."

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