A Dunsborough petition is calling for the state government to halt increases in water rates for non-residential customers and for greater transparency in regards to water pricing.
Shadow Minister for Water Dr David Honey and Vasse MLA Libby Mettam met with members from Dunsborough Yallingup Chamber of Commerce and Industry on October 8 to hear concerns regarding the increase in water rates for commercial users.
In 2018-19, water use charges for non-residential customers in Dunsborough and Yallingup moved up one step from a step nine to a step 10. The change means non-residential customers in Dunsborough and Yallingup will pay $5.457 for 1,000 litres of water, whereas last financial year, they paid $4.727.
Comparatively, businesses in Busselton,serviced by Busselton Water, pay $1.70 a kilolitre.
Chamber president Pauline Vukelic said a member had received notice from their strata company informing them their water charges were proposed to move from stage nine to 12.
“It seemed like other businesses have not been consulted. In our meeting with the Shadow Minister we expressed our concerns about how it will have an impact on the profitability of business,” she said.
“There are questions, like how widely across the commercial sector does it apply? One concern raised is for people who operate holiday homes or rentals, are they domestic or are they a business?
“We need all those matters clarified and clarification on when affected businesses are going to be advised, and transparency on the process.”
The petition also asks for the Legislative Assembly to review the proposal for Busselton Water to service the Dunsborough community.
Ms Mettam said increases would have an impact on not only the small businesses but all residents and visitors to the region.
“The state government have reasoned that the increase is reflective of the cost to operate and maintain infrastructure and I would ask them to be more transparent, providing a detailed breakdown,” she said.
“The reason the previous government supported Busselton Water Plan for Dunsborough consumption is that it would provide a more cost-effective and efficient way of delivering water.”
Water Minister Dave Kelly said it was dishonest for the opposition to now oppose the increases when they had been budgeted for by their previous government.
“These increases are designed to ensure non-residential customers are paying the true cost to supply their water,” he said.
“There was nothing in the Busselton Water proposal that would have reduced the cost of water. It would have cost all WA taxpayers millions of dollars.”
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