TAMWORTH MP Kevin Anderson has issued an extraordinary plea to his own party leader, demanding he end the “water torture” being thrust upon the region.
Under a new cost recovery pricing structure being considered by the ACCC, users in the Peel Valley – including farmers and ratepayers – would be slugged among the highest prices in the state for water.
Mr Anderson yesterday called an urgent meeting with the Deputy Premier and NSW Nationals leader Andrew Stoner to address the issue.
“I want a fair process and the discrimination to stop,” Mr Anderson said.
“This is an issue I have been working on for some time and every time I raise it I keep hearing that we have a high cost of infrastructure and a low number of users and that’s the reason we have high water costs.”
Mr Anderson will ask that Peel Valley users are cross-subsidised by Namoi Valley users, who despite neighbouring the Peel will pay a vastly lower rate for water under the proposed new model.
The new system is based on a cost recovery model, meaning Peel users are stung heavily for operating in a valley with relatively few users.
“Chaffey Dam was never built with full cost recovery in mind,” Mr Anderson said. “It is grossly unfair and discriminatory.
“I will be calling on the deputy premier to address two things, including that the price hike recommended by State Water to the ACCC be rejected and that the Peel Valley be cross-subsidised with the Namoi Valley.
“Asking for the Namoi Valley water users to share the cost is only fair and reasonable because 97 per cent of the water produced in the Peel Valley goes out the other end at Carroll Gap and into the Namoi River system.”
He said under the new pricing structure, local users would be paying 10 times more for water delivery than other parts of the state.
The request is currently before the ACCC, which will hand down its draft determination in February.
Mr Anderson is expected to meet with the deputy premier on Friday to address the issue.