What now on Water Prices?

As Cost of Living pressures continue to be one of the major challenges for many Tasmanians, the Tasmanian Council of Social Service is calling for action to alleviate the impact of price rises proposed by TasWater.

Today TasCOSS is calling on both major parties to support a “Cost of Living Impact Statement” to accompany each piece of legislation when it is tabled in Parliament.

CEO Kym Goodes said the long and continuing series of cost increases for these services puts pressure on many Tasmanian household budgets and has contributed to increases in rents and water costs for many private rental tenants.

“The Cost of Living Impact Statement would identify how the legislation will assist in addressing cost of living pressures, with a particular focus on one or more of the five key areas including health, education, employment, housing and essential services,” Ms Goodes said.

“While it’s too late for the TasWater Legislation, we know Tasmanians want to ensure they are protected against unintended or inappropriate cost increases.”

Ms Goodes said that with the national Consumer Price Index sitting below 2% in recent years, and wages growth continuing to be relatively slow in Australia, it is our view that proposed annual increases of 4.6% for water and sewerage services in Tasmania are unreasonable, and unaffordable to many Tasmanian households living on low incomes.

The median weekly household income in Tasmania is $1100, compared with $1438 nationally. Each year in Tasmania over 5000 households go without meals and nearly 7000 households couldn’t afford to keep their house warm over winter.

“Having regularly provided input into TasWater consultation issue papers for price and services, we have not seen responsiveness in actions that provide us with any confidence of their understanding of the needs of low income and disadvantaged Tasmanians,” Ms Goodes said.

“It is critical that government, companies and corporations are under closer scrutiny for all essential services in terms of how they respond to the key issue of affordability.”

Photo credit: Bystander Photography & Design