ESCOSA reveals Labor’s hidden water tax

Today’s decision by the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) to reduce the average price of water by 3.4 per cent provides much needed and long overdue relief for South Australians.

“ESCOSA’s decision to reduce the price of water also confirms the Weatherill Government has gouged hundreds of millions of dollars from South Australian households through artificially inflated water prices,” said State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall.

“Today’s decision proves savage increases in the price of water during the last decade have been driven by the State Labor Government’s budget crisis.

“The Weatherill Government has levied a hidden water tax on every South Australian water user at enormous cost to household budgets and jobs growth in South Australia.

“Paul Kerin the former head of ESCOSA told a Parliament Committee that South Australian water users were paying an extra $150 million a year due to the Government’s decision to overvalue SA Water’s asset base.

“Hence South Australians will still be paying for too much for water even after today’s announcement.

“As a consequence there needs to be an independent inquiry into the price of water in South Australia.

“Former SA Water Board member Professor Dick Blandy estimated that the Weatherill Government is gouging $400 annually in a hidden tax on water from the average household before today’s modest reduction.

“The skyrocketing cost of water in the last decade has driven thousands of South Australian families into debt and onto hardship programs to make ends meet.

“Even allowing for today’s announcement average household water bills have grown by an estimated 233% since 2001-02.

“Freedom of Information documents obtained by the State Liberals showed 2993 people were on the SA Water hardship repayment program in December 2014, double the number who were on the hardship repayment program in January 2012.”