State Opposition Demands An Independent Water Pricing Inquiry

State Opposition Demands An Independent Water Pricing Inquiry

South Australia Opposition Leader Steven Marshall

Water Prices Under Scrutiny

Victor P Taffa

The State Opposition are demanding that the Weatherill Labor Government conduct an independent inquiry into water prices after explosive allegations of price gouging by the Government.

Claims by former Essential Services Commission chief executive Paul Kerin to a parliamentary committee that South Australians are paying at least $100 Million a year too much for water must be investigated.







“If Mr. Kerin is correct in his assertion that SA Water’s asset base is overvalued by $2 Billion then the Weatherill Government is gouging hundreds of dollars out of ordinary South Australians every year.” State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall said.

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.” Mr. Marshall said.

“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 % despite inflation only being 41 % during this time.

“Mr. Kerin claims that the Weatherill Labor Government decided to overvalue SA Water’s asset base to plug holes in its leaking budget has a ring of truth to it.” Mr. Marshall said.

This latest revelation follows Mr. Kerin’s resignation letter that claimed the Weatherill Labor Government and senior government bureaucrats have no interest in serving the long-term interests of consumers.

“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.” Mr. Marshall said.

A damning ESCOSA (Essential Services Commission Of South Australia) report on the performance of SA Water released in April this year also revealed that SA Water’s net profit after tax ratio was one of the highest of the capital city water utilities in 2012-13.