Canberrans Pay More To Prop Up ACTEW

Shadow Treasurer, Brendan Smyth, has today expressed his disappointment that ACT tax payers are being forced to pay more for water, purely to keep ACTEW from becoming insolvent.

“It is completely unacceptable that water prices in the ACT are increasing by 5 per cent for this reason,” Mr Smyth said today.

“ACTEW is running a monopoly on one of the most basic services in this Territory, and there is absolutely no reason that they should be overcharging Canberrans to keep afloat.

“Today’s report has confirmed that if the ICRC passed on its initial recommendation that water and sewerage prices should drop by an average of $230 a year, ACTEW would be unable to pay dividends to the Government in the foreseeable future.

“The report also reveals that ‘it was not possible to transfer the burden of ACTEW’s costs to future water users without an unacceptable risk to ACTEW’s financial viability,” and that the Commission has ‘modified its traditional approach to determining water prices.’

“The community would be well justified in asking serious questions of ACTEW’s two shareholders about how this process was handled, and why the Government thinks it is acceptable to tax Canberrans more to pay for their bills,” Mr Smyth concluded.