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Labor must support establishment of independent inquiry into water pricing

The State Liberals have today reiterated calls for the need to establish a Commission of Inquiry into Water Pricing in South Australia.

This follows former ESOCSA Commissioner Professor Richard Blandy’s statements to a parliamentary committee that South Australians were paying too much for water.


Professor Blandy told State Parliament’s Budget and Finance Committee that the Weatherill Labor Government had “basically tied ESCOSA’s hands” on water prices and was imposing a hidden tax on South Australians through water prices to the tune of $275 million per year.


Former ESCOSA commissioner Barbara Rajkowska, who also gave evidence today, told the Committe that comments made by Treasurer Koutsantonis’ regarding ESCOSA’s performance lead to her resignation.


“An independent inquiry is the only means of establishing what the real price of water should be in South Australia,” said State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall.

“It is quite clear that SA Water is being used as a cash cow and that the Weatherill Labor Government has no interest in reform, despite there being opportunities to do so.


“The people of Adelaide pay the highest water prices of all capital cities and the State Government pocketed $291.5 million in dividends last year.


“Over the past 13 years, water prices have risen by 236 per cent despite inflation only being 42 per cent during this time.


“It is critical that there is an open and frank inquiry into why water in South Australia is so expensive and how the price can be driven down.”


Legislation to establish an independent inquiry into South Australia’s crippling water prices passed the Upper House of State Parliament last month, however, it needs the support of the Weatherill Labor Government in the House of Assembly.