Regional businesses will benefit from a delay to planned increases in non-residential water charges across 10 regional schemes.
Water Corporation non-residential water charges in regional Western Australia comprise of a uniform State wide meter-based service charge, and a consumption charge that varies based on location (referred to as ‘steps’).
After a 2013-14 review of regional non-residential charges, the former Liberal National Government decided that customers in a number of regional areas were not paying the correct price for water. Since that review, charges for non-residential customers in a number of regional schemes have been increasing, rising by one step per year.
Under the Barnett Government plan, from July 1, 2020 customers in the following 10 schemes would have another one step increase in their water charges:
- Fitzroy Crossing
The McGowan Government will defer this increase as part of its support package to assist businesses and the community through the financial impacts of COVID-19.
This decision prevents an average 11.6 per cent increase for non-residential customers in these areas. For example, water charges for businesses in Cervantes during 2020-21 will be $7.40 per kilolitre instead of $8.06 per kilolitre.
Where business charges do not cover Water Corporation’s costs, the difference is funded by an operating subsidy paid by the WA Government. In 2018-19 the State Government subsidised $255 million for Water Corporation’s country water, sewerage and drainage operations.
This relief measure for business customers is in addition to the previously announced measures including a significant waiver of wastewater charges for businesses in hardship which has allowed eligible businesses to receive up to $41,000 of relief.
As stated by Water Minister Dave Kelly:
“The economic impact of COVID-19 is being felt across the business community, but none more so than in regional WA.
“This decision by the McGowan Government to defer this long-planned increase, averaging 11.6 per cent, to water charges will provide additional support to businesses in these areas.
“This follows the waiver on wastewater service charges for business customers with four or more major fixtures worth up to $41,000, to help Water Corporation business customers financially recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”