Water bills are set to rise – read the latest here:
Water bills set to rise by up to 28 per cent
Some NSW households will see their water bills increase by almost 30 per cent over the next three years, as prices rise from next week.
The rise will affect more than 5 million consumers, prompting the opposition to accuse the O’Farrell government of breaking its promise to ease cost-of-living pressures.
A Labor analysis of water prices across NSW, covering Sydney Water, Hunter Water, the Central Coast Water Authority and Essential Energy, which supply a combined 5.5 million residents, showed some family water bills rising by as much as 28 per cent over the next three years. Prices start to go up on July 1.
”Electricity, gas, water bills and public housing rents have all increased under the O’Farrell government. Families are doing it tough and the O’Farrell government is making life harder for them,” opposition water spokesman Walt Secord said.
Water and sewerage bills for families in Sydney, the Illawarra and the Blue Mountains will rise by an average $72 over the next three years, or $134 for the typical apartment owner, said Mr Secord.
Until last year, most Sydney apartment owners had avoided paying water service charges if they used shared meters, but by 2015 a new charge covering all apartment owners will reach $95.
The central coast will have some of the biggest bill rises, with Gosford residents facing a 28 per cent rise in water and sewerage bills, costing an extra $300 over three years. Wyong residents will have a $204 rise, he said.
Lower Hunter families face a 19 per cent rise in water bills, costing an average $140 extra if they live in an apartment, or a 10 per cent rise worth $104 if they live in a house. Broken Hill pensioners will have bills rise by $44.50 next year.
Mr Secord accused the government of getting rid of water efficiency programs to drive up bills. ”They are encouraging people to use more water, because then bills go up and it increases their dividend.”
Although dam levels had risen and the desalination plant was not in use, Mr Secord said it was important to conserve water, and this was in consumers’ interest because it kept household bills down.
Acting Finance and Services Minister Andrew Constance said: “Utility prices went through the roof under Labor’s incompetence and the NSW Liberals and Nationals are committed to repairing this damage and easing the pressure on family budgets.
“When Sydney Water’s prices were determined under Labor in 2008, bills increased by 17 per cent, or $126, in the first year alone, and $245 plus inflation for each subsequent year until 2012.”
Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson said the rise in Gosford bills was due to sewerage work. ”Gosford has delivered a large infrastructure program for necessary sewerage projects,” she said.