Melburnians are now paying more for water than residents in any other city in Australia, except Brisbane, figures from the Bureau of Meteorology’s national performance report shows.
Water Minister Lisa Neville is in denial about Melburnians cost of water while she milks water customers of an extra $338 million in dividends in 2019-20 alone – an increase of 164 per cent.
Ms Neville made the outrageous claim in Parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates (PAEC) today that the cost of water was deliberately high in Melbourne so if people reduce their water use, they reduce their water bills.
Three years after the release of the government’s water plan Water for Victoria, the government still doesn’t know how Melbourne will meet its future water needs.
Ms Neville revealed she has no idea where Melbourne’s next water augmentation is coming from, despite scenario modelling from Melbourne’s water authorities predicting climate change and population growth could see Melbourne facing water shortages by 2028.
Ms Neville acknowledged that the work done by the Liberals and Nationals when last in government to increase stormwater and recycled water would be a key part of her plan to secure Melbourne’s water supplies, but was unable to say how much stormwater Melbourne captures.
When asked whether further augmentation of desalinated water would be required, Ms Neville stated: ‘I don’t know’, also stating ‘dams are not our solution’.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Water Steph Ryan
Lisa Neville continues to lie to Melburnians, claiming Melbourne has the cheapest bills in Australia when in fact the city pays the second highest prices in the country.
The only reason bills in Melbourne are lower is because Melburnians work hard to use less water. People who are struggling to pay their bills will not appreciate the Water Minister telling people that they should pay more to discourage them from using water.
The reason Melbourne residents pay the highest cost for water of any capital city in Australia is because Labor signed up to expensive and ill-conceived water projects including the north-south pipeline and the Wonthaggi desalination plant.
Labor did not plan for sensible augmentation of Melbourne’s water supplies and when drought struck, they panicked and signed up to the Wonthaggi desalination plant at a cost of $1.8 million a day to customers.
The government needs to plan for Melbourne’s future water needs now, not when we are in the middle of the next drought.