Direct democracy ‘our only hope’

Forum –

Not content with loading ratepayers with massive rate increases, the Administrator now wants to force a 34 per cent hike in water rates on suffering residents (CCN312).

The reason for this increase is to provide “reliable water supply, wastewater, stormwater and other water services”, but surely this is the minimum that anybody could possibly expect from a water-management authority, so where is the justification for a huge price rise?

Is the Administrator admitting that the service has been run so incompetently for so many years that we now have to make up the gap in performance by extraordinary extra payments?

Where are the details of the problems to be overcome, what are the proposed solutions, where is the business plan and what management changes will be made to improve efficiency?

It is easy to take the view that money will solve all, when it is somebody else’s money, but what has been done so far doesn’t inspire belief that matters are being handled as well as they might be.

Even if we pay more, with the same people in charge, what guarantee do we have that our extra rates will bring about an improvement?

To judge by the present level of capability in meeting stormwater requirements, it would take a considerable boost in confidence to imagine that more money will certainly produce better results.

Perhaps, the extra money will go to producing better designed “Water over road” signs.

It can’t be to fund sewerage works, because new developments (even as small as granny flats) have to pay a sewerage levy to cover any additional capacity requirements.

Perhaps we could institute a system of increased payments AFTER we have seen improved performance: IPART could grant an increase from July 2023, on condition that a 2022/23 review shows results to justify the change.

If everyone sits idly by, IPART will approve this change or will approve it in part or will approve it on a temporary basis.

Every ratepayer who is concerned about this matter must let his views be known to IPART via the website.

This is a case where the exercise of direct democracy is the only hope of a just outcome.

Email, Oct 3
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy

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