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Victorian Nationals

Tim McCurdy – Labor approves emergency debt cap hike for water corporations

Monday 29 April 2024


The Allan Labor Government has been forced to approve an emergency increase to the debt caps of four Victorian water corporations following project cost blowouts and revenue shortfalls.


Documents obtained by the Victorian Opposition under Freedom of Information have confirmed in May 2023, Treasurer Tim Pallas received a brief requesting approval of a total of $36.5 million in additional debt across four Victorian water corporations, including:

  • Wannon Regional Water Corporation – debt increase from $19 million to $37.5 million due to a cost blowout on the Warrnambool Sewage Treatment Plant project.
  • Lower Murray Urban and Rural Water Corporation – debt increase from $8 million to $14 million due to emergency response costs and lower water usage.
  • East Gippsland Region Water Corporation – debt increase from $3 million to $5 million due to performance and environmental compliance concerns at the Paynesville Water Recycling Plant.
  • Goulburn Valley Water Corporation – debt increase from $19 million to $29 million due to increased maintenance costs and decreased water sales.

These emergency debt cap increases are in addition to ordinary annual borrowings made by the Treasurer each June and come as the Allan Labor Government ripped a total of $325.8 million of dividends and capital repatriations from water authorities across 2023-24 as Victoria’s net debt is projected to reach $177.8 billion by 2027.


Shadow Minister for Finance, Jess Wilson, said: “Whether it’s water corporations, hospitals or government departments, Labor continues to shift its record debt onto agencies which only results in poorer outcomes for Victorians.


“Good government services require financially stable delivery agencies, yet the Allan Labor Government continues to use the balance sheets of others in an attempt to cover-up its own financial mismanagement.


“Labor cannot manage money and Victorians are paying the price.”


Shadow Minister for Water, Tim McCurdy, said: “Every year, Labor pulls millions of dollars from water corporations, treating them as cash cows to plug the gaps in the state budget, now the corporations have had to borrow money, which will accrue interest, to carry out essential capital works.


“Labor has again showed they have no idea how to manage money, Labor must rule out increasing water fees and charges in the upcoming State Budget as Victorians should not have to pay the price for Labor’s financial mismanagement.”

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