Melburnians won’t be forced to pay more for water as a result of unnecessary orders from the Victorian Desalination Plant under an elected Liberals and Nationals government.
Despite above-average rainfalls this year during La Nina seasonal conditions, the Labor Government has spent $76.7 million in 2021-22 ordering a massive 125GL of desal water.
Shadow Minister for Water Steph Ryan announced today that a Liberals and Nationals government elected in November will not purchase expensive desal water unless Melbourne’s storages fell below 60 per cent capacity.
“Labor is driving up water bills by ordering water when we don’t need it,” Ms Ryan said.
“Melbourne’s water storages would still be classified as secure without any of the desal water ordered in recent years.
“This policy will save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars when water storage is at a sufficient level while allowing the desalination plant to augment supply when storage supplies are threatened.”
According to Melbourne Water, the city’s storages are currently at 85.8 per cent.
In December last year – in the same year Labor placed a $77 million water order from the 150GL desalination plant – storages were at 90 per cent. The highest they’ve been since 1997.
Ms Ryan said a commitment to only order water when it was needed would help relieve the pressure on Melburnian’s back pocket while the cost of daily essentials, including food and fuel, was rising significantly.
“Melbourne’s water storages have been in the high secure zone (60 per cent and above) since October 2019. Despite this, the Andrews Government continues to order desalination water, at a cost to Melbourne households and businesses,” Ms Ryan said.
“Labor has ordered water from the desalination plant every year since 2016-17.
“The Andrews Government is running the desal plant flat chat when Melbourne’s storages are at risk of spilling. This is a political decision to justify Labor’s huge expenditure on the desalination plant.
“Only a Liberals and Nationals government will relieve the cost-of-living with common sense policies that support the financial recovery of Victorian families and businesses.”