By Ashleigh Bagshaw.
Power and water supplies would be returned to state control if Labor wins this month’s election, the Minister for Water and the River Murray, Mr Ian Hunter, said.
Labor will establish an Energy and Water Services Department that will bring SA Water and ETSA back into the state system, and abolish the corporatisation of these organisations.
“We believe energy and water are essential community services which desperately need to be controlled by a central government,” Mr Hunter said.
Amalgamation of these industries will have a range of benefits for South Australia, he said.
“The move to consolidate these services will provide security and reliability for the future, as well as providing cheaper water prices.”
Water is at the forefront of Labor’s environmental policy, with a key focus of their campaign for re-election on continuing to protect the Murray-Darling Basin.
According to Mr Hunter, Labor’s other key water policies include:
- Ensuring that South Australia will receive the additional 450 gigalitres of water promised under the 2012 Murray-Darling Basin Plan
- Acting on the findings of the Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission, which is investigating allegations of water theft in the eastern states
- Establishing an Energy & Water Services Department to consolidate state-owned services, including SA Water, and protect them from privatisation
While Labor remains committed to upholding the 2012 Murray-Darling Basin Plan, Mr Hunter said compliance with the plan must be ensured.
“We have concerns about both the plan and about other states not actually delivering on the plan,” he said.
Labor was particularly concerned with allegations of water theft and last year established the royal commission into water theft from the River Murray.
“The purpose of the royal commission was to come up with a report highlighting the best way to manage the basin into the future, and to inform the future behaviour of all involved governments,” he said.
Labor was committed to acting on the recommendations of the final report once it was released, and these findings will be a key influence on future actions in this area.
Image Source: Utility Magazine