Opinion

Proposed system fairer

By Country News

With reference to ‘‘Price hike ire’’ (Shepparton News, May 9) regarding foreshore occupation licences issued by Goulburn-Murray Water under the Water Act (1989).

G-MW has received almost 50 feedback submissions as part of our consultation process after we wrote to more than 330 licence holders last month proposing a new fee structure. It’s important to note this consultation period remains open to May 18 and may be extended beyond that if necessary.

G-MW’s final foreshore licence fee structure will be informed by all submitted feedback.

The proposed new licences are intended to provide licensees with greater security. The licence duration has been doubled from five to 10 years and meets landowner requests for a greater variety of structures to be licensed than traditional jetties and boat ramps.

We believe the proposed system is fairer as it means any person who has private infrastructure on foreshore land is licensed and allowed recreational use when it does not impact on operational requirements.

For the wider community, the licences allow for controlled development on water storages managed by G-MW.

With urban growth on our waterways, and increasingly large recreational vessels, many have become major structures. Licensing allows G-MW to manage environmental, public safety and operational concerns at these storages.

Licensing of structures is not new; it has been in place for many years.

It’s important to note the proposed fee structure has been reviewed by an independent consultant, including comparisons to similar interstate water storage management arrangements.

G-MW is unique in Australia as it is the only water authority that has private residential land abutting some of its storages and that allows licensees to erect structures on the waterfront. In other states, this is generally only evident on coastal lakes and river systems.

Our wider business provides services to more than 20000 customers. Most are irrigation customers, who must not subsidise our recreation customers.

Fill out the online feedback form at: www.gm water.com.au/existing-foreshore-licences

Alternatively interested parties can meet with us or phone 1800 013 357.

—Pat Lennon

G-MW managing director