Shadow Minister for the Environment, David Speirs, has welcomed the State Government's admission that South Australia's water infrastructure is in desperate need of additional investment.
“Today's announcement by Minister Hunter that SA Water will invest additional funds in its pipe replacement program is a belated step in the right direction,” said Mr Speirs.
“'For too long SA Water's customers have endured the highest water prices in the nation, but rather than invest profits in better infrastructure, SA Water's income has been used to prop up the Weatherill Government’s disastrous budget,' Mr Speirs said.
“South Australian households have seen annual water bills rise by 233% since Labor came to power, while our ageing network of pipes falls into an ever greater state of disrepair,” said Mr Speirs.
“Finally the Weatherill Government has realised that a network of leaky pipes and burst water mains is unacceptable and that more of SA Water's substantial income needs to be ploughed into capital works.”
Mr Speirs also called on the State Government to ensure that it liaised with local councils prior to undertaking any work to avoid a repeat of the embarrassing revelation that a newly resurfaced street in Athelstone will be dug up by SA Water as part of its pipe renewal program.
“SA Water has a civic responsibility to publish its forward schedule of works well in advance and to work closely with local councils to ensure that we don't have newly resurfaced streets dug up within months of completion,” said Mr Speirs.
The Liberal Party remains committed to its policy of initiating an independent inquiry into water pricing in South Australia.
“We recognise that water bills are putting incredible pressure on household budgets with little transparency as to how prices are established and how SA Water's profits are spent,” said Mr Speirs.