New water prices will penalise Sydney households, says a leading consumer group, but provide no new solutions to the real problems of the city’s water needs.
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), has criticised the price hikes proposed by the independent regulator saying they are directed at the wrong place.
‘Price increases won’t reduce water use. They simply force many households to pay more for an essential service’ said Elissa Freeman, PIAC Policy Officer.
In releasing its proposed new prices the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) noted that domestic water use has fallen 10% with compulsory restrictions. PIAC has argued that further reductions require more effort on tackling problems with the cost of new appliances and the behaviour of landlords.
PIAC has pointed out that the step price proposed for Sydney Water will unfairly penalise many larger families.
‘Water bills aren’t based on the number of people in a household’ said Ms Freeman. ‘A large family being careful with water may still get caught by these new prices.’
While Sydney Water has proposed new measures to assist low-income families PIAC says these simply highlight the problem of inclining block prices.
‘Sydney Water argues higher prices send a signal’ said Ms Freeman. ‘The best signal would be to provide more help to low-income households reduce their water use’.
PIAC argues the Government’s Metropolitan Water Plan has contributed to higher prices by focussing on consumption while ignoring the need for more water conservation by domestic users and increased recycling of water.
MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, Media and Communications Officer,
Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169