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FALLOUT: Sue Murphy’s comments have caused some to question Water Corporation’s role. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Water pressure highlights competing priorities

If utilities such as Water Corporation can’t fulfill their primary responsibility to the public, maybe an alternative ownership model would be a better option.

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W.A.
Why don't we in W.A. do what they do, over East, and what the farmers have always done, catch the water that runs to waste down our gutters and send it back, filtered, into our water systems, and don't give the Water Authorities the excuses to Rip of the overworked, underpaid public.

South Perth
With all respect Tim (on the basis of you being a respected business voice) it should be stated that Water Corp are perhaps the most progressive and willing govt agency to work with industry to look for better ways of delivering essential infrastructure. Western Power take 6-8 weeks to energise a new stage of development from the end of works to install the infrastructure, but Water Corp is almost instantaneous for connection. Tim, your connects are appreciated but would have much further merit with context of stakeholders that are reliant on Water Corp day-to-day.

retaining the monopoly on the water supply market has many benefits, creating a competitive marketplace can have drawbacks especially if the competition drives the price down to a point that doesn't allow for leadership investment in new technologies. in my opinion, a government organisation would be better at delivering services for the community, environment and the economy, where as privatisation there is the a larger focus on just economics.

Perth
I don't think the Water Corp's two aims (encouraging us to use less water and providing water) are opposite or even mutually exclusive. We live on the edge of a very large desert. Rainwater continues to decline, leaving us to find alternative solutions of water supply. The Watercorp has been doing this effectively - whether its through our two desalination plants, or the current plans to inject Yaragadee with treated wastewater. What's generally agreed (at least I think, correct me if I'm wrong) - is that all these solutions are expensive, and the costs are eventually borne by the consumer/taxpayer. I doubt that solar and wind are enough by themselves to power our desalination, given that their intermittent and all desalination plants are generally regarded as being very energy intensive. I think it might boil down to whether we're happy to make these large capital investments to maintain our sprawling lifestyle. Citizens will have different opinions based on their own circumstances, social and economic - but many citizens don't appreciate the upfront cost of building infrastructure and maintaining a service, only to become suddenly grossly unhappy at seeing the cost of their bills increase by a far larger percentage than their CPI or stagnant wages. These issues can topple governments. You haven't suggested that the Water Corp is specifically inefficient - and so I'm not really sure privatisation is a panacea. Any private group would have a minimum service provision, forcing the state to purchase a minimum volume of water at an agreed upon rate for a set period - though I'd hate to see what would happen if there was no 'maximum price' and we went through a sustained period of drought. Whilst this latter point is unlikely, if we can minimise future costs for Western Australians as our rainfall shows no signs of picking up, that would seem to be common sense. We don't want a situation like Victoria - which is either a debacle or bad luck, regardless it's expense makes Muja, Fujitsu and John Holland look cheap.

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Total revenue

1st-Gold Corporation$8.10bn
2nd↑Synergy$3.10bn
3rd↑Water Corporation$2.55bn
4th↓GESB$2.04bn
5th-Western Power$1.78bn
29 state government businesses ranked by total revenue - this year

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