Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart) (19:31): I will not take too long. The member for MacKillop certainly made a fulsome and substantial contribution and covered very well all of the issues that the opposition would like to put. I am also a little bit humbled to follow the member for Chaffey, who we all know is an expert on the River Murray. I would like to make a couple of points with regard to the electorate of Stuart and how that fits into this Water Industry Bill 2011.

The really broad issues that we are dealing with here are water planning, regulated industry, technical regulator and authorised officers. That is obviously very broad and, as I said, has been covered by the member for MacKillop. The electorate of Stuart, though, as I think most people would know, is very, very broad. There are no more voters, no more people in the electorate of Stuart than any other electorate, but I am pretty confident in saying that the electorate of Stuart encompasses the broadest range of communities and the broadest range of water needs of any electorate in the state.

Look at a country town like Kapunda, which is nearly metropolitan fringe, a large regional centre like Port Augusta, the Mid North area—Morgan, Blanchetown, Cadell, Murbko, right on the River Murray—and then moving all the way up through outback South Australia—Marree up to the Northern Territory/Queensland/South Australian borders. We need water for an enormously wide range of issues. Some of them are exactly the same as in metropolitan Adelaide, and some of them are vastly different, including irrigation in the River Murray, including stock needs, including very small communities, which we all understand need water just as much as any large communities do.

I thank the member for MacKillop for including in his list of amendments two that are very important to the electorate of Stuart. Amendment No. 13 in summary asks SA Water to continue to provide services within those areas of the state in which services are provided immediately before the commencement of subsection (2). That is vitally important, because I would hate to see a situation where it became inconvenient or became unattractive for whatever reason to SA Water, or to the government, to continue to supply water to some of the very, very small towns in the electorate of Stuart, or any other small towns for that matter anywhere else in the state.

I really do understand the economics, I understand the practical realities of trying to run a massive water business like SA Water does, but I also understand how important it is that people get their water supplied even if it is non-potable water. Of course, we would all like to have high quality drinking water supplied everywhere that people would like in every home in the state. I understand that is not going to be possible for SA Water to supply it to every sheep or cattle station around the place.

There are small towns that get drinking water and there are small towns that get non‑potable water as well. While they have to catch water on their roofs to fill up the rainwater tanks, and while they have to sometimes pay to have water carted in because they need drinking water, the non-potable water is still extremely important for doing the dishes, for bathing, for boiling up, and using for a wide range of reasons. So, amendment No. 13 is very important to me, and I hope the government will see the merit in that, and I hope the government will see the fairness, equity and importance of that to many communities in the further afield parts of South Australia, and how it applies to drinking water and also to non-potable water which is currently supplied by SA Water.

I would also like to talk briefly about amendment No. 23, which the member for MacKillop has included. In broad terms, this has regard to the principle that the prices charged to small customers for retail services should be the same rate for all small customers regardless of their location in the state. That, of course, is vital too, because we can all understand the economies of scale if you are trying to supply water into metropolitan Adelaide suburbs. That is one thing, and your economies of scale would be probably the best there of anywhere in the state. This does not relate to large customers necessarily. It is still possible to do deals with business and industry, and we are all looking, reading and learning about the indenture act for Roxby Downs at the moment.

There is a new example there of an agreement that has been done, outside of SA Water, of course, but there will always be reasons to do different deals with larger organisations. In much the same vein as I was discussing amendment No. 13, amendment No. 23 is really an issue of fairness. It would not be appropriate to charge excessively high rates for water in smaller towns throughout the state. Typically, of course, there are many of them in the electorate of Stuart.

I might point out that there are approximately 30 communities in the electorate of Stuart. The regional city of Port Augusta accounts for about half the population of the electorate, and another 25 to 30 communities make up the other half of the population. So you can imagine that there are a lot of very small places.

So, that amendment is vital, and it is in much the same vein as the electricity pricing that we have in this state, and I think that is vital, so I ask the minister and the government to take that into very serious consideration. It is absolutely critical for the people that I represent. It is absolutely critical for the people that I represent that they can have equity of pricing for SA Water supply. I will leave it at that. The member for MacKillop and the member for Chaffey have covered the issues on behalf of the opposition very well but, from a Stuart perspective, those two amendments are critical.


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