An alliance of businesses in the business of water

No EWS under South Australian Liberal government

February 16, 2018

David Spiers, South Australian Liberal MP and Shadow Environment Minister, has told a gathering in Adelaide that an incoming Liberal government would not go down the track of establishing an EWS-style government department.

Speaking at the 2018 Water Outlook Breakfast event, Spiers said the corporatisation of SA Water has been successful and a Liberal government would not wrap energy and water together within a new government bureaucracy.

“It will hurt industry more than anyone else,” he said. “I think industry would struggle in that environment and would struggle to cut-through an additional bureaucracy.”

In October last year South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill made the Labor party’s first election promise to “de-corporatise” the state’s water supply and create a new Energy and Water Services (EWS) Department. Despite being almost six months since the election promise was made, Environment Minister, Hon. Ian Hunter, conceded at the event that no decision had been made surrounding details of the new department but said the immense amount of synergies between water and energy meant a closer partnership was for the better.

Also at the event, Shadow Minister David Spiers unveiled the Liberal party’s plan to create an independent body called ‘Infrastructure SA’ which will be charged with establishing a 20-year infrastructure strategy for the State.

Spiers said it would deliver significant opportunities for the water industry and that an incoming Liberal government would look at the role of water infrastructure, where government investment should be in the medium to long term, and where private input and funding could be sourced for projects.

“We are confident that [Infrastructure SA] will deliver a pipeline of projects that are more likely to be funded and will give more confidence to private industry and our federal government partners,” he said.

Spiers also addressed the Liberal party’s proposed export-led strategy with the water industry playing a key role. He said an incoming Liberal government would provide specific support for industry to get into new markets and establish more presence on the ground with trade offices to open in Japan, Dubai, USA, South Asia and Shanghai.

To read more about Labour’s election priorities and what Minister Hunter had to say about safeguarding the River Murray and securing the State’s water security click here.