Sydney Water Managing Director Kevin Young has addressed claims made by the Daily Telegraph regarding Sydney Water’s Annual Report.

The state-owned corporation made a $415 million profit after tax in 2012-13 and will pay the state government a dividend of $291 million.

The news article alleged that Sydney Water had increased its profit by 10 per cent in 2012-2013 by slashing jobs, and increasing water bills, despite a 31 per cent spike in billing complaints and complaints about meter reading. The article also suggested that the company paid executive staff exorbitant salaries.

The Managing Director’s response addressed these areas of concern as follows:

Sydney Water bills

  • Sydney Water, as a state-owned corporation, is required to operate as an efficient business.
  • Sydney Water’s prices are independently set by IPART. From 2012-2016, a combined water and wastewater bill for a typical household is proposed to increase by only $63.
  • Sydney Water prices between 2012-13 and 2015-16 will go up by less than the rate of inflation.
  • Sydney Water’s profit of $415 million after tax is a result of a number of reasons including higher than predicted water sales and improved operational efficiencies.

Customer complaints

  • The 2012-13 Annual Report shows customer satisfaction with the overall quality of service is the highest it’s been for five years.
  • Sydney Water is well below its Operating Licence target for low water pressure and less than 0.1% of properties experienced pressure less than the minimum standard.
  • A slight increase in complaints has come about from a delay in a meter reading program. Sydney Water is rolling out a new meter reading system next year which will enable further improvements.

Sydney Water jobs and salaries 

  • Sydney Water is constantly striving for business efficiencies to keep bills low for customers.
  • Sydney Water is Australia’s largest water utility with 4.5 million customers. The positions are remunerated to attract top-level candidates.
  • All of our executives are remunerated according to the State Owned Corporation guidelines and determined by the Sydney Water Board.
  • Reduction in Sydney Water’s workforce is primarily due to the nature of our work changing; More than 80 per cent of Sydney Water’s total operating and capital costs are sourced externally, which drives efficiencies through competitive tendering and sourcing. Around 98 per cent of capital works is outsourced to the private sector.

An interview with Sydney Water Managing Director Kevin Young is upcoming in the first issue of Utility Magazine in 2014.

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