· Customer payments for Labor’s desalination plant hit $1,042,278,418.87
· Legacy of wasteful mismanagement casts doubt over Daniel Andrews’ competence
· Napthine Coalition Government delivering real savings on Melbourne water bills
Water customers across Melbourne have now paid $1 billion for Labor’s desalination plant.
Local Member for Malvern said the plant at Wonthaggi had been in standby mode since commissioning was completed in December 2012 but it had caused household bills to skyrocket.
“The desalination plant is a legacy of waste and poor planning that will remind Victorians forever that Labor governments can’t manage water, can’t manage money and can’t manage major projects,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The people of Malvern cannot trust the judgment of Daniel Andrews and Labor who still mistakenly believe the white elephant desal project was value for money for water users.
“In fact, when Labor announced this dud deal five years ago, they even claimed ‘value for money for water users’ was one of the project’s ‘key features’.
“Labor’s dud desal deal means water users are paying an average $600 million holding charge each year but that payment doesn’t give us a drop of water – any water order would cost more again.”
In contrast to Labor’s mismanagement, Michael O’Brien said the Napthine Coalition Government was committed to acting in the best interests of Melbourne’s water customers and had taken real action that was helping ease cost of living pressures on families.
“The Napthine Coalition Government is working hard to put downward pressure on household water bills and to reduce the impact of Labor’s dud desal deal on Malvern families,” Mr O’Brien said
“The Napthine Coalition Government has already reduced desalination plant costs by $1.2 billion by withholding payment when the plant was late, successfully negotiating the plant’s electricity contract, and approving early refinancing of the project’s debt.
“The Napthine Coalition Government also resolved $1.3 billion of legal claims with AquaSure without any cash settlement at taxpayers’ expense.
“In addition, the Fairer Water Bills initiative will see Melbourne household water bills reduce by $100 a year, for each of the next four years. These savings began to appear on water bills from July 1 this year and are already helping households.
“Through the Melbourne’s Water Future strategy, the Napthine Coalition Government is also being smart and efficient about planning for the city’s future water needs, ensuring we make optimum use of all water sources including stormwater and recycled water and that we don’t repeat Labor’s wasteful mistakes like the north south pipeline and the desalination plant.”