The Weatherill Government’s decision to scrap the Save the River Murray Levy highlights the need for an independent inquiry into the price of water in South Australia.
“As welcome as the reduction in household water bills is, the $40 per annum is just a drop in the bucket compared to the $1270 an average household will pay for water and sewerage this year,” said Shadow Minister for Water and the River Murray Michelle Lensink.
“Indeed former SA Water Board member Professor Dick Blandy estimates the Weatherill Government is gouging $400 annually in a hidden tax on water from the average household.
“If Professor Blandy is correct then even after the scrapping of the Save the River Murray Levy the average household will still be paying $360 a year in a water tax.
“It is equally worth noting that SA Water was budgeting on extracting $915 million in profit during the next four years before the scrapping of the Save the River Murray Levy.
“Premier Weatherill has consistently dismissed the suggestion that there is a hidden tax on the price of water in South Australia.
“Premier Weatherill has the opportunity to kill constant criticism that he levies a hidden tax on water by voting to have a totally independent analysis of water prices in South Australia.
“It is quite straight forward – if, as the Weatherill Government claims, there is no hidden tax on water it will vote to prove that is the case through an independent inquiry.
“With more than 3000 SA Water customers classified as hardship customers in December 2014 the need for cheaper water is pressing.
“South Australian families are being hit incredibly hard by the exorbitant cost of water under the Weatherill Labor Government.
“The skyrocketing cost of water has driven thousands of South Australian families into debt and onto hardship programs to make ends meet.”