Irrigator backs water pricing change

By Jamie Salter

Goulburn-Murray Water says its 2020-24 Pricing Submission proposal is set to reduce the cost of water for the majority of its customers.

About 10 per cent of G-MW’s customer base took part in an extensive engagement process to inform the pricing submission.

Tatura irrigator Hayley Jennings runs a sheep and Angus beef operation on 100 ha of irrigated land and said she relied on the irrigation delivery system for her livelihood.

Ms Jennings attended a G-MW customer forum held in October to discuss business needs and views on the draft plan.

“I found a few things very interesting, for example, how seriously the people at the top at Goulburn-Murray Water are taking our concerns over pricing of the Infrastructure Access Fee,” Ms Jennings said.

“They are also pre-empting how a change in climate could mean less water in the system in years to come and they are working to make the system viable.”

G-MW managing director Charmaine Quick said the engagement process provided first-hand feedback on customer's business needs.

“To put it really simply, the efficiencies our transformation is generating means we need less money from our customers and that means under this water plan, we are able to lower fees,” Ms Quick said.

“We are proposing uniform pricing across the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District.

“We are eliminating the differential between water users and non-water users so everyone pays the same price; irrigators, speculators and bulk water users.”

The consultation period ends on January 24, and the Essential Services Commission will deliver its draft decision in March.

Further consultation will be carried out from March until April and a final price determination will be made in June.

The final price determination will be implemented from July 1, which will set fees and charges for the next four years from 2020 to 2024.

To download the document, visit: www.gmwater.com.au/yoursay