Victoria’s Western Water and City West Water are combining as a new water entity, Greater Western Water, to support Melbourne’s growing western suburbs.
The Minister for Water, Lisa Neville, Chair of Western Water, Andrew Cairns and Chair of City West Water, David Middleton, announced the integration on 29 October.
With population growth booming in the west, more infrastructure will be needed to serve the growing community, and without intervention, Western Water would see annual bills increase by up to $500 over the next ten years.
Integrating the two water corporations will mean current Western Water customers not only avoid these price rises, but by 2029 their annual bills will be on average $160 cheaper than they are today. City West Water customers will also see savings of up to $110 on their annual bills compared to where they are now.
Mr Cairns said, “We are prioritising the liveability and affordability needs of our customers and community to ensure they continue to receive the services they need and value at an affordable price into the future.
“It will also boost local employment opportunities and allow for an upgrade to our Sunbury office.”
Mr Middleton said, “This integration paves the way for greater integrated water management and service delivery opportunities as well as affordable infrastructure planning in Melbourne’s growing outer west.”
The new entity will have the financial resources and staff to cope with the growth and demand for new water infrastructure in the region – supporting jobs and economic activity.
The integration will occur on 1 July 2021 and the transition will be overseen by a committee with an independent chair and board members from both Western Water and City West Water, with reforms including:
- All existing non-executive staff will transfer to the newly integrated water entity – no job losses
- The Sunbury and Footscray offices and all depots will be retained, keeping jobs in the west
- $500,000 will be invested in planning upgrades to convert the Sunbury office into a COVID-safe Greater Western Water hub
- An additional 50 staff will be based at Sunbury over the next three years, and there will continue to be a strong executive presence at the office
- Communities currently served by Western Water will have greater access to the Melbourne water system, providing them the water security they deserve through the desalination plant
Western Water and City West Water have approximately 580,000 customers combined, which is forecast to rise to over 690,000 by 2028.
The formation of Greater Western Water follows work by DELWP, City West Water, Western Water and Melbourne Water to identify the best way to cater for population growth in the region and deliver high-quality, affordable water services.
The chairs of both water corporations found integration was the only option to ensure customers continue to receive high-quality, affordable water services in the face of growing demand for infrastructure and services.
Ms Neville said, “The integration of Western Water and City West Water will mean lower bills for customers well into the future and better services and water security for the region.
“We will protect existing jobs at both water corporations and continue to promote growth for the local economy, to ensure these reforms provide a sustainable future for the region.”