Gaining Community Insight – Price Submission

Monday, July 29, 2019

Over the past two weekends, South Gippsland Water has completed a process of gaining community insight to assist in the development of the Corporation’s Price Submission.

The review of the Corporation’s pricing and services is for the years 2020-2023. The document will be submitted to the Essential Services Commission (ESC) in November 2019 and sets out the services the corporation delivers and prices charged to customers.

South Gippsland Water Managing Director commented today, “This process provides us with the opportunity to hear from and work with the community in finding a balance between delivering on customer expectations, the prices we charge and for the business to be sustainable into the future.”

Throughout May 2019, a call for expressions of interest for customers and community to participate in two community forums was issued in local press, via South Gippsland Water’s web and social media sites and in information sent to customers with their recent accounts.

“Recruitment for the forums was completed by consultants Deliberately Engaging who randomly selected the participants from the many applications received throughout the planning process,” Mr du Plessis explained.

The forums were held over the past two weekends and enabled 35 community participants, who represented key areas and demographics throughout the region, to join South Gippsland Water management and staff in key discussions and deliberations.

“The process undertaken in partnership with our community has been enlightening for both the participants and for ourselves, and has highlighted for all involved the complexities for the organisation in future planning for financial, service and social sustainability.”

Facilitated by Max Hardy Consulting, the group discussed and voted on investment priorities between maintaining affordable charges for customers, maintaining quality water and wastewater services, and achieving long-term business sustainability. In the coming weeks, South Gippsland Water will receive the final report from Max Hardy regarding outcomes from the forums, however, indicative results lean towards a focus on maintaining quality services.

Mr du Plessis noted, “The considerations of the community are integral to us planning for the future. The Corporation will continue in its development of its Price Submission to the Essential Services Commission, as we are now armed with the valuable insight gained from the frank and informative discussions held during the forums.”

This process is one part of a larger engagement program, details and the opportunity to comment can be found at https://oursay.org/lets-talk-water/price. Further public programs will be undertaken in September 2019 at the “testing” stage of the submission process.