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Local Govt. Takes On Water / Waste Water Review

Local government is to take on the review of the water, wastewater and stormwater industry, the Ministers of Local Government and Enterprise and Commerce announced today.

"Those who know and own the infrastructure, and are closest to the communities it serves, should be able to recognise where and how improvements can be made," the Ministers said.

Recently, metropolitan mayors met with the Prime Minister and acknowledged the need to look at how the services were delivered and asked if the problems could be addressed at the local government level.

The Government accepted the offer and welcomed the initiative of local government to collectively take on the review.

However, the Ministers said it was vital that local government considered the following key issues during the review:

 customers have access to safe and secure water, wastewater and stormwater services at a reasonable price;
 services are delivered in an efficient and environmentally sustainable way;
 appropriate investment occurs in both assets and water quality;
 clear accountability is established for the management of the services;
 strong incentives exist for innovation and service improvement; and
 fairness to both public and private providers of water, wastewater and stormwater services is achieved.

"It is crucial that people in communities get the best when it comes to water, wastewater and stormwater services. These services are essential to each community as well as the country's economic, social and environmental well-being," the Ministers said.

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"To deliver an effective service there must be sound management and careful infrastructural planning.

"We welcome local government's desire to ensure that this happens."

A period of 18 months has been set aside for local government to develop a comprehensive framework for the water, wastewater and stormwater industry, at which time the Government will work with local government to review the progress made.

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