SA Water used to prop up state government departments

21 Nov 2014 newswaterpricingmedia

More evidence has emerged confirming that the Weatherill Labor Government is using SA Water as a cash cow.

SA Water pays an annual $4 million fee to obtain data from the Valuer General’s office.

In the draft determination of SA Water’s Water and Sewerage Revenues by ESCOSA, it was noted that by purchasing these determinations less frequently, savings of $8.5 million would be generated for SA Water customers over the initial regulatory period.

However, the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure responded that:

"DPTI’s major concern in connection with ESCOSA’s earlier review…was the substantial revenue loss (some $8 million over the regulatory period) that would be incurred if SA Water were to purchase once every three years – rather than annually – the Valuation Roll supplied by the Valuer General…"

"The Weatherill Labor Government has been caught out jacking up water prices to prop up other state government departments," said Shadow Water Minister Michelle Lensink.

"SA Water could have reduced SA Water customers’ bills by an average of $11.00 if it dropped its unnecessary expense on the Valuation Roll."

This latest revelation follows a resignation letter from former Essential Services Commission of SA chief executive, Paul Kerin, claiming that the Weatherill Labor Government and senior government bureaucrats have no interest in reform or in serving the long-term interests of consumers.

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.

A damning ESCOSA report on the performance of SA Water released in April this year revealed that SA Water’s net profit after tax ratio was one of the highest of the capital city water utilities in 2012-13.

"It is quite clear from Mr Kerin’s letter 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," said Ms Lensink.

"It’s time for Premier Jay Weatherill, Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis and the rest of the Weatherill Labor Government to sit up and take note – it cannot continue to use SA Water as a cash cow."