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Strong water policy needs follow-through for users

The Victorian Government's Water Plan lays out a comprehensive and broadly sensible agenda for the coming decades – but the interests of water users need to be kept at the front of mind as it is implemented, Australian Industry Group Victorian Head Tim Piper said today.

"Water is an essential input to Victoria's businesses, from food processing to basic chemicals and much more. Well managed water resources that are supplied at affordable and sustainable prices are critical to our economy.

"While the Water Plan includes many actions to safeguard consumer interests through a better functioning water market and greater consultation on business needs, the challenge will be to sustain a focus on consumer outcomes as the plan is implemented.

"For instance, the Plan calls for the water corporations to have net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and for the metropolitan water businesses to examine options to achieve this by 2030. It is right to ensure that decisions on long-lived public infrastructure take circumstances like the emissions transition into account. However, those plans need to be prepared and judged with consumer and business impacts at the forefront. Victoria will need to maintain a competitive cost environment on energy and water, even as it moves towards low emissions.

"Prices for many business inputs are rising and are likely to continue to grow, including gas and electricity. Water prices have the potential to add further pressure. While market developments and national policy are often the biggest drivers, the Victorian Government needs to do all it can to ensure that Victorian businesses are competitive with their counterparts in other states and overseas.

"More broadly the Plan will call for much further work on Victoria's water grid, water planning and the management of civic, industrial, agricultural, recreational and environmental uses of water. Industry looks forward to working with the Government to ensure that the needs of water consumers are met," Mr Piper said.  

Further comment: Tim Piper – 0411 430 301