Monday, April 4, 2011


The free enterprise think tank the Centre for Independent Studies has given the game away in a report titled “Droughts and Flooding Rains: Water Provision for a Growing Australia, released last Thursday.
The report says that Australians should pay more for water in order to accommodate population growth.  The report says that on average Australians pay about $1 per kilolitre of water compared with up to $2 in Europe, and recommends that households should pay more when dam levels are low and less when they were high.
The study author Rebecca Gill said “Scarcity pricing could enable us to avoid a costly overhaul of water systems or the reintroduction of stringent water restrictions, while still meeting the water needs of a growing population.”
Ms Gills rejects the alternative approach, to stabilise water prices by stabilising Australia’s population levels, saying “The way forward is not to cut population growth, which is inevitable, but to consider a range of water sources to meet the growing demand.”
The fact is that population growth is not inevitable at all – it is a consequence of our high net migration levels, and it would stabilise if we cut those levels back.
The Centre for Independent Studies would like us to think its inevitable, because its big business backers profit from the extra demand and downward pressure on wages which comes with population growth.  They are happy for ordinary Australians to pay the price for their increased profits in the form of higher water prices as well as higher house prices, rents, electricity prices, food, petrol, council rates etc.
The statement in their report that Australian water prices are half those of Europe indeed bears thinking about. Do Australians really want to achieve Europe’s population and congestion levels,  and the pressure on water supplies which comes with that, and the doubling of our water prices? The Centre for Independent Studies might think that’s OK, but it’s not.
Member for Wills

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