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Liberals ask AG to investigate Desal Plant

Sep 02, 2012

Mitch Williams MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition
Shadow Minister for Water and the River Murray
Shadow Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources Development


Liberals ask AG to investigate Desal Plant

The State Liberals have asked the Auditor General to report on the financing of the desalination plant in order to provide answers to the many questions the Labor Government has refused to answer. 

“The Labor Government has consistently refused to provide answers to the myriad of questions surrounding the financing of the desalination plant so I have asked the Auditor General to investigate,” Shadow Minister for Water Mitch Williams said. 

“I have asked the Auditor General to report on the following:
 

  • Why South Australians were paying for the Operation and Maintenance of the desalination plant for 27 months when the plant was not operating and construction was still underway?
  • How many taxpayers’ dollars were spent on Operation and Maintenance payments while the plant wasn’t operational?
  • What penalty clauses were available to SA Water under the contract with AdelaideAqua to meet construction milestones and particularly the “first water” milestone?
  • What was the basis upon which AdelaideAqua made this counter claim against SA Water and was it reasonable for SA Water to settle the matter with AdelaideAqua?
  • Why did SA Water decide not to pursue their legal case against AdelaideAqua and not recover monies under the penalty clauses thereby relieving water consumers of further costs?
  • Why hasn’t the South Australian Government taken the same approach as Victoria and cancelled the 2012-13 water price rise?
  • Why are water customers being forced to pay $125 million twice simply because of the delays in construction? ($125 million remained unpaid at the end of the 2010/11 financial year because of construction delays and was paid into the Treasury account).

“These are all questions that the Labor Government should have answered.

“South Australian taxpayers want to know where their money is being spent and why their Government has chosen not to recoup money which could have been recovered under the penalty clauses of the desalination contract. 

“Water prices increased by 22 per cent in 2010/11, 40 per cent for 2011/12 and 25 per cent for 2012/13.  This year’s 25 per cent price increase will raise an additional $175 million for SA Water.

“The State Liberals will leave no stone unturned in pursing these important questions on behalf of the people of South Australia.”

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