Legislation to establish an independent inquiry into South Australia’s crippling water prices will go before the House of Assembly this week.
“The Liberal Party promised to establish an independent inquiry into the price of water in South Australia after the former head of ESCOSA Paul Kerin made explosive allegations of price gouging by the Weatherill Government,” said Shadow Minister for Water Michelle Lensink.
“This week the Weatherill Government will have the opportunity to kill constant criticism that it levies a hidden tax on water by voting to have a totally independent analysis of water prices in South Australia.
“It is quite straight forward – if, as the Weatherill Government claims, there is no hidden tax on water it will vote to prove that is the case through an independent inquiry.
“If, as I believe, the Weatherill Government is extracting hundreds of millions of dollars annually in a hidden tax on water it will vote against the inquiry.
“Earlier this year the Upper House cross benchers joined the Liberals to pass legislation to establish this critical inquiry.
“Former Essential Services Commission chief executive Paul Kerin has publicly stated 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.
“If Mr Kerin is correct, the Weatherill Government is taxing South Australians hundreds of dollars a year through artificially inflated water prices,” said Me Lensink.
“Mr Kerin’s evidence is consistent with the fact that the people of Adelaide pay the highest water prices of all capital cities and that the State Government pocketed $291.5 million in dividends last year.”
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.