The amended Water Services Act has been finalised, introducing legislation that will transform the provision of water, sewerage, irrigation and drainage services in Western Australia.
Water Minister Terry Redman said the Water Services Act 2012 was now operational and would bring benefits to water customers and businesses, including the introduction of a water ombudsman.
A new code of conduct has also been introduced to ensure water providers meet minimum service standards in relation to billing, payment, complaints and provision of services.
“The new laws will remove unnecessary barriers to the delivery of water services while ensuring a high quality standard of service for customers,” Mr Redman said.
“The changes are the result of extensive consultation with industry and the community and will allow for increased competition in the water services sector.
“This means that for the first time, all water providers will operate under the same set of powers and obligations, allowing them to provide a full range of water services, including sewerage, and operate anywhere in the State.
“Importantly, the office of a water ombudsman will be in operation from January 1, 2014. Customers will be able to seek independent resolution of complaints and disputes with licensed water providers.”
The Minister said other customer improvements included the ability of the State Government to appoint a supplier of last resort where a service provider was unable to continue to provide services.
“This means that no matter what happens to service providers, the service to customers will remain secure,” he said.
Water service providers such as Busselton Water Board and Aqwest will now be able to offer services such as bulk water supplies, drainage and sewerage services which they were prevented from offering under previous legislation.