Govt to boost concession payments to dilute water bill rise pain

The state government will offer $64 million in concessions to help households on lower incomes cope with an $85 average annual rise in their water bills.

Jun 26, 2024, updated Jun 26, 2024
Photo: Nicholas.T.Ansell/PA Wire

Photo: Nicholas.T.Ansell/PA Wire

An average concession card holder will receive $412 off their annual water and sewer bill under the boosted payments, Premier Peter Malinauskas announced today, after yesterday revealing that water bills would be going up 3.5 per cent above inflation next financial year.

Previous concessions payments for water bills ranged from $146.30 and $359.70 a year.

The new concessions will be distributed to more than 190,000 concession recipients and applied directly to their water and sewer bills rather than a cash payment, according to the state government.

The move means an average metropolitan household using 189kL of water per year with a property value of $706,000 will only incur a bill hike of $8 a quarter if they receive the concession, rather than the $21 increase flagged on Tuesday.

SA Water bill increases

A breakdown of SA Water bill increases (pre-concession payment). Table: SA Govt

“We want to ameliorate the impact for those who feel it most in our community, particularly pensioners,” Malinauskas said, adding that the “vast bulk” who would receive the payment would be pensioners.

Asked if the concessions would be increased each year to reflect yearly increases in water bills, Malinauskas said the government would “assess that on a year-by-year basis”.

The $64.8 million package is “in addition” to the $266.2 million cost of living package revealed in the state budget earlier this month, according to the government.

Malinauskas on Tuesday argued the hikes to annual water bills – which will increase around $85 year on year if inflation remains steady – are necessary to fund a $1.5 billion investment in SA Water.

The state government is investing $440 million to improve water infrastructure, with the rest to come from water customers and developers.

The Premier said the government’s plan to deliver nearly 40,000 homes – primarily across the northern and southern suburbs – would be “at risk” without the $1.5 billion program, with SA Water’s capacity to support new homes currently at “full constraint”.

InDaily in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Opposition leader David Speirs said the increased concessions would provide “barely any hope at all for the most vulnerable South Australians”.

“There is no need for these water bills to go up – no need at all,” he said.

“South Australia is having historic increased revenue flows, $9 billion of increased revenue in recent years.”

Speirs called on the government to axe the $593 million plan to build a hydrogen power plant in Whyalla and instead invest the money in new water infrastructure.

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InDaily.
All rights reserved.