Water prices should not penalise say consumers

Proposals for higher water bills for Sydney households are the result of confused
policies says a leading community group.
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) says that neither the Government nor
Sydney Water are providing enough support to residents to reduce their water
‘The Government’s new water policy only adds to costs for households,’ said
Jim Wellsmore, PIAC Senior Policy Officer. ‘The pricing rules penalise
households for lower usage and now the Metropolitan Water Plan will give
residents a second hit in their bills.’
Jim Wellsmore said that despite a lot of talk about demand management the
Government had opted to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on increasing supply,
an approach which commits Sydney residents to higher bills for years to come. The
Government claims higher water prices will reduce demand yet is building expensive
infrastructure to cope with higher consumption.
‘The Government is determined to push up water prices,’ said Jim Wellsmore.
‘But achieving long-term reductions in use is more sustainable and cheaper in
the long run.’
PIAC has called on the pricing authority, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory
Tribunal, to reject the Sydney Water proposal for an inclining block tariff. It cites
research showing that higher prices simply penalise large households without reducing
overall consumption of water.
PIAC also expects consumers in other parts of NSW to face higher water prices in the
near future.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, Media and Communications Officer,

Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169

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