ANDERSON CALLS FOR FAIRER PEEL WATER PRICING
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson today presented to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) regarding the pricing of bulk water in the Peel Valley.
Mr Anderson said the ACCC are holding a series of public forums for the review of water charges across the state and today they met in Tamworth.
“This was a great opportunity to inform the ACCC on behalf of our irrigators, the community, and industry about the problems we face due to the high price we pay for bulk water” Mr Anderson said.
The Commission also heard today from Council and irrigators about the cost of water and the problems it was causing, including for major food processors who are considering their options about operating in Tamworth.
“Compared to water pricing across the state, the Peel Valley is being charged 10 times the amount of other water users in the Murray Darling Basin” Mr Anderson said.
“We are being charged approximately $50 dollars per megalitre in the Peel Valley, yet next door in the Namoi Valley the price drops to approximately $19 dollars per megalitre.
“The ACCC heard today how water users in the Peel Valley pay 100% of the cost of maintaining and upgrading Chaffey Dam, yet are only allowed to use 5% of the water - 95% of the water in the Peel River flows into the Namoi.
“The pricing regime needs to be changed and I proposed today that there needs to be some form of joint venture with the Namoi Valley to help achieve a more fair and equitable pricing system.
“Ultimately there needs to be something done across the valleys in the Murray Darling Basin. The current system of single issue, valley-by-valley pricing is unfair.
“I am also urging the State Government as a matter of urgency to prepare a new Peel Valley Water sharing plan. The current plan was formulated in 2010 and is now outdated and does not meet the current needs or future demands of water users in our region.
“Today was very beneficial. I believe we had a very good hearing, and I greatly appreciated the ACCC coming to Tamworth to hear and feel the pain and frustration of the water users and the potential ways to fix this problem.
“I will continue to push the State and Federal Governments in finding a way forward to ease the pricing pressure on us” Mr Anderson concluded.
The ACCC will report back to the Federal Environment Minister by December 2015.