Industry insights | 20 November 2022

Water and sewerage authorities have announced their new fees: Here’s how it affects you

It’s that time again. Victorian water authorities are reflecting on – and re-establishing – their costs for the next five years.

With the new water prices enacted from July 2023, water authorities have released their proposed fee changes.

So what do these look like across the thirteen different authorities?

How are water prices changing?

Victoria’s thirteen water authorities have all released their new customer contribution fees – to be enforced from July 2023.

Informed by broader market shifts, such as inflation, the new water fees mostly reflect the rising cost of living experienced throughout Australia in 2022. However, prices differ between authorities, with some fees decreasing or not changing at all.

New customer contribution fees are increasing across:

  • Baron Water
  • Coliban Water
  • Goulburn Valley Water
  • Lower Murray Water
  • South Gippsland Water
  • Westernport Water
  • Yarra Valley Water

Customer contribution fees are decreasing for:

  • South East Water
  • Central Highlands Water

Customer contribution fees remain consistent for:

  • East Gippsland Water
  • Gippsland Water
  • GWMWater
  • Wannon Water

While there is an overall trend in costs increasing, the new customer contribution fees reflect typical increases seen over a five-year period. As noted, they also encapsulate Australia’s climbing prices, with inflation rising by a staggering 7.3% between September 2021–2022.

You can check out the proposed new fees in the 2023 water price review.

How will these changes affect me?

The good news? These fee shifts are far from severe and nothing for businesses to be concerned about.

For those undertaking a subdivision, the fee changes won’t have a significant effect – with either a slight increase, decrease or neither in contribution fees.

In the broader scale of pricing, and for small to medium sized projects, these fees won’t have a major impact.

How are water fee proposals assessed? 

The Victorian Government has established a legal framework to assess water prices presented by authorities. Laid out in the Water Industry Regulatory Order, the Essential Services commission’s PREMO pricing framework places customers at the heart of a water business’ decision-making process.

Introduced in 2016, PREMO stands for Performance, Risk, Engagement, Management and Outcomes. The framework includes incentives for each water authority to submit its best proposal for customers.

And the approach is proving successful. In 2018, an independent review found PREMO was effectively creating more favourable outcomes for Victorian water customers, including lower prices and more targeted services.

Want to share your feedback on these proposed fee changes? Have your say at Engage Victoria. Individuals are welcome to provide their comments until 1 December 2022. 

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