An elected Liberal Nationals government will review the charges of northern Victoria’s rural water authorities to ensure water storage and delivery costs are fair and equitable, according to Shadow Water Minister Steph Ryan.
Ms Ryan announced the review last week, which will examine water storage categories including bulk water and entitlement storage.
‘‘Getting the balance right is vital to the future of Victoria’s irrigation communities,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘Since Labor unbundled water rights in 2007, there has been rapid development and growth of water trading, which has significantly influenced how, when and where customers use water.
‘‘More than a decade on, it’s important that we make sure the distribution of water charges is fair and equitable.’’
Victoria’s water ownership and entitlement framework has changed significantly since the millennium drought.
The review, to be conducted by an advisory committee, will also consider the appropriateness of current fixed and variable delivery fees assigned to each user category and the distribution of delivery shares among gravity and pumped districts.
Ms Ryan said if elected at November’s state election, the Liberal Nationals’ review of water storage and delivery charges will provide an opportunity for all stakeholders’ views to be heard and to inform government decision making.
‘‘There is significant concern that delivery shares are acting as a handbrake in regional communities, which have lost water,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘Some also believe that current storage costs unfairly favour traders, bulk entitlement and environmental water holders over irrigators.
‘‘If elected, we will review the pricing framework to ensure the storage and distribution charges being applied by northern Victoria’s rural water authorities are fair.’’