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What are the Liberal priorities for the water sector?

As South Australia gears up for the 2018 state election, Liberal Shadow Water Minister David Speirs says the state’s water sector would benefit greatly from an independent review of water pricing.

Ahead of speaking at the SA 2018 Water Outlook Briefing on 15 February, Speirs said the cost of water is placing an increasing pressure on businesses.

“I have been the shadow water minister in South Australia for a year now, and it’s definitely an area where there are some significant challenges. The most significant challenges in South Australia in terms of water is the cost,” he said.

“The cost of water is no doubt a pressure on the cost of living for the individual, but it is also a cost pressure faced by businesses, particularly those that use a large amount of water.

“And it’s a challenge for the water industry at large because they are dealing with a resource that is increasingly expensive. It creates challenges, but it also creates a lot of opportunities.”

Speirs said the Liberal Party would endeavour to explore new opportunities for the state’s water businesses by first assessing water pricing, a necessary step in taking action towards economic prosperity and development statewide.

“The Liberal Party has announced that it will initiate an independent review of water pricing in the state. We think that SA Water is used by the State Government as an accounting mechanism to prop up the state budget, which results in a whole range of negative effects for all of South Australia,” he said.

“We want to take an in-depth look at every aspect of water in the state, from the cost of household water through to the cost of business water, and consider access by third parties to SA Water infrastructure, enabling it to look at new ways of delivering water to customers.”

Speirs said one of the state’s primary focuses should be on marketing South Australia’s water technology and expertise to the world, and finding ways to support local water businesses to thrive economically on an international scale.

“The South Australian Liberal Party has a vision that an economic renaissance can occur in our state if we take our products and services to the rest of the world. I would like to see water be part of that,” he said.

“There are many challenges we have faced through significant drought, difficult climatic conditions and cost pressures, but those problems have driven innovation in this state and we are a world leader when it comes to efficient, productive technologies and water distribution.

“It’s an area that has not been looked at by the current government enough and it needs to be a high level priority.”

Register for the SA 2018 Water Outlook Briefing to hear more from Speirs on his vision for the South Australian water sector, as well the plans of Water Minister Ian Hunter.