Local governments who act as water services providers for their communities will receive a  licensing exemption, with the money saved to be redirected into reducing sewerage costs.

The licensing exemption is limited to shires servicing less than 1,000 connections with sewerage and non-potable water, but does not apply to drinking water services.

Western Australian Minister for Water, Mia Davies, said the exemption will allow tens of thousands of dollars a year tied up in regulatory red tape to be redirected into reducing sewerage costs for small communities.

“The Liberal National Government, through the Department of Water, has implemented a licensing class exemption for small local governments acting as water services providers, with 15 shires exempted since April this year,” Ms Davies said.

“This exemption alleviates the regulatory burden for these shires, and the estimated $60,000 a year saved on compliance costs will instead be redirected towards assets to help ensure sewerage services are affordable for customers in these mostly remote regional areas.

“The schemes present a low-risk to the public and the benefits of licensing are greatly outweighed by the costs of regulation.”

Ms Davies said four major class exemptions were among the ongoing benefits from the Government’s water reform agenda through the Water Services Act 2012.

“These exemptions cover properties with their own water services such as caravan parks, mining, oil and gas camps, local governments providing drainage services and some types of irrigation services,” Ms Davies said.

Western Australian MInister for Finance, Sean L’Estrange, confirmed the progress in removing unnecessary administrative burdens and costs for local governments and ratepayers through the new exemptions for water licensing, was all part of the recent Repeal Week.

“Well designed regulation can help to lower costs and increase innovation and productivity,” Mr L’Estrange said.

Annual workshops will now be held by the Department of Water with exempted shires and key stakeholders, including the Department of Health, to discuss and help resolve any service performance issues. 

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