Liberals WA commit to better management of waterways and town water supply

The Liberals WA will work to overhaul the management of Vasse River and the supply of water for Dunsborough if elected to ensure a more affordable and more efficient service. 

Under the plan, the responsibility for water supply for Dunsborough will be transferred from the Water Corporation to Busselton Water. 

The responsibility for managing Vasse River and the Geographe drainage and waterways will also be consolidated and transferred to one agency. 

The move will mean a far better quality supply of water for the town of Dunsborough while also reducing the cost of water charges for residents. 

“Currently, Dunsborough families using 300kL per year of water pay about $270 more than those living in Busselton,” Deputy Leader and Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said. 

“The plan was approved in 2016 but when Labor was elected, it decided not to follow through and Dunsborough residents have been paying the price as a result.” 

Ms Mettam said Dunsborough had a limited and poor quality town water supply that required expensive treatment before distribution. 

“It also has no non-potable water supply meaning schools and businesses are forced to pay for drinking water to keep playgrounds and ovals watered,” Ms Mettam said. 

“Dunsborough Primary School, for example, spends $100,000 annually to water its oval and playgrounds because there is no alternative.” 

Ms Mettam said about 25 per cent of Dunsborough’s water supply was already supplied in bulk by Busselton Water and all future increases in water demand would need to be met from this source. 

“The Water Corporation receives an annual operating subsidy of more than $5 million to meet its Dunsborough water supply costs. 

“Transferring responsibility to Busselton Water will unlock efficiencies and provide a better and more affordable water supply in a town that has a rapidly growing population. 

“It makes no sense to continue subsidising a corporation to provide a service that another organisation down the road can do more economically without relying on government assistance. 

“WA families have already been slugged an extra $850 in household fees and charges under Labor. Only the Liberals WA will get on with improving services so that Dunsborough families aren’t continually overcharged for water.” 

Ms Mettam said consolidating the management of Vasse River and the Geographe waterways was also common sense. 

“For too long, we have had multiple agencies trying to manage different parts of the Vasse River and the surrounding Geographe waterways and drainage systems and it simply isn’t working. 

“The health of the river is suffering as all the different agencies attempt to manage sections in different ways, the various committees established to deal with it have not come up with a cohesive plan and it’s having wide-ranging implications beyond the river. 

“Action on the river is now urgent and overdue.” 

Ms Mettam said a 2013/14 independent review of Busselton Waterways identified the Busselton Drainage System as a major contributor to the degradation of the Vasse Wonnerup Wetlands and the pollution of Geographe Bay. 

“Unfortunately, seven years on, many of the issues identified in the report still haven’t been resolved and the solutions posed have not been implemented. 

“It’s very clear that the management and the responsibility for Vasse River and the surrounding drainage and waterways needs to be consolidated and undertaken by one agency to ensure there’s a uniform approach and ultimate accountability. 

“The Liberals WA will ensure that consolidation and transfer of responsibility is given to one agency as a priority, if elected, to ensure we aren’t going round in circles trying to fix these issues in another seven years’ time.”