AND REGULATORY TRIBUNAL
IPART PLANS CAPS ON BULK WATER PRICE INCREASES
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) today announced proposals for an annual cap of 15 per cent on real price increases for bulk water from regulated rivers � while real charges for water from unregulated rivers and groundwater would rise by no more than 20 per cent each year.
The new price structure would operate for the next three years.
The Department of Land and Water Conservation (DLWC) had proposed a 20 per cent cap on real increases across the board.
The Tribunal says its proposals would strike a balance between improving the DLWC�s cost recovery, in line with the national water reform agenda, and the needs of water users � mainly farmers.
�The Tribunal has to carefully balance the imperative of full cost recovery, which is vital for environmental and efficiency reasons, with the impact of price rises on users, and farmers in particular,� said IPART Chairman, Dr Tom Parry.
�The proposed price increases will result in full cost recovery by the end of the three year determination period on the majority of regulated rivers achieved with annual price rises significantly lower than the 15 per cent maximum.�
�Prices are significantly lower for users of water from unregulated rivers and groundwater � so the Tribunal felt the higher increase would be appropriate in those areas.�
The Tribunal, assisted by two independent consulting firms, carried out extensive analysis of the cost base of the DLWC to ensure only efficient costs were being passed on to water users. The study proposed a revised basis for sharing the costs between water users and the State Government.
There also was extensive consultation with stakeholders, including meetings chaired by IPART in Armidale and Griffith.
Stakeholders now have until November 9 to comment on the draft proposals. IPART will announce a final price determination at the end of November.
The full Draft Report is available on the Tribunal�s website at www.ipart.gov.nsw.au