SA Water - Pricing

Supplementary question: can the minister advise the chamber whether the performance of SA Water would be better or worse if it disaggregated its country and metro data, as I have asked him to do in relation to pricing in the past?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 14:51 ): I fail to see how that arises as a supplementary from the original question or answer, but let us look at pricing. Do the Liberals honestly understand that there was no price drop through ESCOSA's last determination of, what was it—6.4 per cent, was it the Hon. Michelle Lensink?

The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink interjecting:

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: Was it 6.4 per cent? The water prices were driven down by ESCOSA's last determination by about 6.4 per cent—it might be a little bit higher. The next draft determination, which they will consider handing down very shortly, foreshadows a further decrease in water prices and foreshadows another decrease in sewerage prices. That is for ESCOSA to determine—I cannot prejudge what that outcome will be, but its draft determination certainly points in that direction. So, the economic regulation that this government has put in place through ESCOSA has driven down the cost of water to our customers, and that is what we will continue to do.

The Hon. Michelle Lensink, of course, never raises the issue of statewide postage stamp pricing. This government also makes sure that people on the SA Water network, those 27,000 kilometres of pipeline, pay the same cost for water, even though the cost of delivering water into the rural regions is much more expensive than it is delivering it into metropolitan Adelaide. We believe that it is fair that a community service obligation is made so everybody in South Australia on that distribution network pays the same price. Are the Liberals actually saying they want those prices to go up? They do not tell you about their policy of secretly privatising SA Water. They will not tell you about that. This is what they wanted to do at the next election; this will be what they want to do at the next election.

The Hon. R.I. Lucas interjecting:

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: The Hon. Mr Lucas pipes up! This is a man largely unspoilt by failure through his whole career. He was responsible for privatising ETSA. That is what he has to be proud of: privatisation of ETSA. We know what that did to utility prices. That is what they will do to water if they ever get their hands on the Treasury benches.