Regulation Streamlined For Central Coast Water


The NSW Government is streamlining how Central Coast Council’s water and sewerage services are regulated and administered to support good governance and sound decision making.

Until now, Central Coast Council was in a unique position – the only council in NSW providing water services under two different legislative Acts, as well as being subject to price regulation by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).

A new Bill will eliminate red tape for the Council by removing regulatory double-up and complexity, paving the way for better governance.

It will provide a simpler and clearer regulatory framework for incoming Councillors and reduce costs, freeing Council up to perform its core role of providing essential services for the Central Coast.

Additionally, it will help resolve some of the complexity that contributed to Council being placed in administration in October 2020.

The Bill will also bring the provision and regulation of Central Coast Council’s water supply and sewerage services in-line with all other local governments across regional NSW and protect these utilities as publicly owned and managed assets.

It’s important to note the proposed changes will not have any material impact on customers. The Bill does not pursue privatisation or corporatisation and Council will retain control of services and infrastructure.

The changes are also specific to Central Coast Council and do not affect other councils or local water utilities across the state.

The Bill comes off the back of a 2022 Public Inquiry into Central Coast Council which included widespread public consultation, and a review into the Council’s water utility legislative and regulatory framework in 2023.

It aligns with stakeholder feedback, as well as the review’s findings and recommendations to simplify the framework and make it more efficient.

Specifically, the Bill will:

  • Remove Council as a water supply authority under the Water Management Act
  • Align the regulation of Council’s water supply and sewerage services more closely with the regulatory framework which applies to all other councils
  • Retain IPART as the regulator of Council’s water supply and sewerage service prices to ensure adequate oversight of Council’s pricing
  • Exempt Council from unnecessary and inefficient restrictions on money transfers between the water supply fund and the sewerage fund, to improve effective management of cash flow and debt funding
  • Repeal redundant Acts to improve regulatory clarity.

Minister for Water, Rose Jackson said:

“These changes are long overdue and will give residents greater confidence that their water services are being properly managed.

“It comes after a Public Inquiry and a thorough review into Council’s administrative operations, and after listening to feedback from the entire community.

“This Bill is a great outcome and fantastic news for people across the Central Coast.”

Minister for the Central Coast and Member for Wyong, David Harris said:

“We welcome this Bill which will simplify how Central Coast Council can do its job and best serve its residents, businesses and customers.”

Minister for the Hunter and Member for Swansea, Yasmin Catley said:

“By simplifying processes we’re taking the focus off jumping through tricky hoops, and back onto getting the job done.

“Eliminating unnecessary obstacles will pave the way for more time to deliver the things that matter most to the people of the Central Coast.”

Member for The Entrance, David Mehan said:

“The great thing about our Bill is that it ensures our water service will remain locally owned and controlled while the simplification of regulation and IPART price oversight will make sure we are paying no more than we should for our water and sewer service.”

Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch said:

“I welcome the introduction of this Bill, which will eliminate red tape for Council, so that they can focus on what matters most, providing essential services for our Central Coast community.”

/Public Release. View in full here.