New South Wales councils have rejected key findings of Infrastructure Australia’s report into Local Water Utilities (LWU) and are “furious” at the lack of consultation.
The Infrastructure Australia Report on Regional Towns Water Quality and Security found that in many regional towns, water quality did not always meet health standards and planning for security was often inadequate.
Conducted by Aecom on behalf of Infrastructure Australia, the review looked at a sample of towns across Australia with populations between 2000 and 15,000 and with a reticulated water supply.
The report recommended governments mandate compliance with Australian Drinking Water Guidelines through legislation or regulation; implement a nationally consistent best practice management framework for all regional LWUs; and reform the governance structure of regional LWUs in New South Wales and Queensland.
The Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW (LGSA) said the report “conveniently ignored” relevant data on the role of councils in delivering these services.
Shires Association president, Bruce Miller, said Infrastructure Australia failed to consult with key stakeholders.
“We're furious at the lack of consultation, selective data collection and clearly flawed findings of the Infrastructure Australia Report in to Local Water Utilities,” Cr Miller said.
LGSA called on the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, to consult with local government and relevant NSW State Government agencies before acting on the report.
“We're also calling on the NSW Government and Opposition to immediately and publicly reject the Report,” Cr Miller added.
”These eleventh hour proposals threaten to derail the comprehensive and all but concluded LWU review process that has been underway in NSW with the State Government since 2007.
“The Report barely brushes on the NSW Review and also conveniently ignores objective data which shows the strong performance of NSW LWUs and solid improvements in quality, productivity and water security that have been made by this sector over the past decade.”
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