Under Treasurer Brett Rowse has confirmed that water prices will increase by about 200 per cent in the period 2008 – 2013 to pay for the desalination plant and other water projects.
Mr Rowse told the Adelaide Desalination Plant Select Committee that after an average 26.3 per cent increase this year and a similar increase next year water prices will have increased by 200% since 2007-08.
“This 200 per cent increase in water prices in significantly greater than the 100 per cent originally claimed by Labor Ministers such as former Treasurer Foley,” Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said.
“Mr Rowse also confirmed that the Weatherill Labor Government had now decided on a much smaller increase in water prices in 2013-14 – coincidentally the year before the next State election!”
In other evidence to the committee Mr Rowse confirmed:
• The Federal Government was giving $328 million to South Australia for the desalination plant but will now claw back $302 million in GST grants – leaving a net benefit to South Australia of only $26 million.
• There had been meetings involving the Treasurer, Under Treasurer and private sector investors to discuss the possible sale of the desalination plant – Mr Rowse stated the Government has made no decision and Treasury was undertaking no detailed work at this stage on a possible sale.
• Treasury would increase it’s ‘take’ from SA Water through dividends and income tax equivalents from $200 million this year to $357 million in 2014-15
• Treasury has not undertaken any analysis of the extra costs to the desalination project and water consumers as a result of the State Government’s decision to power the project by 100 per cent renewable energy.