Labor pulls the plug on water inquiry

The Weatherill Government has today used its Parliamentary numbers to block legislation to establish an independent inquiry into water prices.

“The refusal of the Weatherill Labor Government to submit water prices in South Australia to independent scrutiny confirms Labor levies a hidden tax on water,” said Acting Shadow Minister for Water Tim Whetstone.

“If the Weatherill Government wasn’t charging a hidden tax on water it would welcome an independent inquiry with open arms.

“It needs to be remembered that this legislation came after former Essential Services Commission chief executive Paul Kerin testified to a parliamentary committee that South Australians are paying $100 million a year too much for water.

“Mr Kerin asserted that SA Water’s asset base is overvalued by $2 billion dollars.”

As at 1 July 2013, SA Water’s Regulated Asset Base was valued at over $11 billion.

“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 pockets massive dividends each year,” said Mr Whetstone.

“South Australia’s average household water bill grew by a staggering 241 per cent between 2002-03 and 2015-16.

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