- McGowan Government provides better services to help people pay their water bills
- Number of families whose water has been cut off for non-payment of bills has dropped by more than 50 per cent since July 2017
- Funding for a WACOSS advocacy role to give water consumers a new voice
The number of Western Australians whose water has been cut off for non-payment of bills has fallen by more than 50 per cent since the McGowan Government implemented a new approach to help those experiencing difficulties paying bills.
This morning, Water Minister Dave Kelly and Community Services Minister Simone McGurk announced new procedures used by the Water Corporation to assist people to pay their bills, after a successful trial last year.
The fresh approach includes:
- Face-to-face contact with home visits;
- Early intervention;
- New and improved payment options; and
- More than $100,000 per year for the next three years for a new partnership with WACOSS for a policy officer role. This will give the water industry and regulators a greater insight into the different impacts on households experiencing hardship and adversity.
The improved procedures come after the number of families cut off by the previous Liberal National Government exceeded 2,000 Western Australians a year.
For more information, visit https://www.watercorporation.com.au
Comments attributed to Water Minister Dave Kelly:
"Under the previous Liberal National Government, nine WA families a day were having their water reduced to a trickle because they were experiencing financial hardship.
"With these new procedures in place, the number of WA families whose water has been shut off has more than halved.
"I am also confident this number can be further reduced in the years ahead.
"For the previous government, shutting off people's water was a go-to option. Under this Government it is a last resort for non-payment of bills.
"Shutting off water supplies to families in financial difficulty only puts more hardship on them.
"That is why I'm pleased to announce these new measures are helping Western Australians in need."
Comments attributed to Community Services Minister Simone McGurk:
"It is the responsibility of utility companies to work with their customers to address outstanding bills, not against them. The Water Corporation is leading the way on this.
"Restricting someone's water should be a very last resort and when there is a risk of flow being restricted, the customer can apply for assistance under the Hardships Utility Grant Scheme.
"The McGowan Government allocated an additional $5 million last month to assist vulnerable Western Australians maintain access to essential energy and water services through the scheme.
"We have also honoured our election commitment and reinstated financial counselling services in the Perth metropolitan area, with an extra $7.4 million committed over four years."
Water Minister's office - 6552 6100
Community Services Minister's office - 6552 6600
NOTE: Under the Water Services Act when a customer's water is cut off for non-payment of bills, a small flow of 2.3 litres each minute is maintained to sustain life. However, this is insufficient for normal activities such as showering and washing clothes.
TABLE OF RESTRICTIONS
|Customers flow restrictions||119||2,342||1,613||2,288||2,162||1,470||2,070||2,280||2,467||638*|
* July 1, 2017 to January 30, 2018