The McGowan Government’s range of new innovative financial assistance programs for Water Corporation customers has resulted in 92 per cent fewer households in the South West facing water flow restrictions for non-payment of water bills.
New figures show the number of customers having their water reduced to a trickle for non-payment of bills in the South West region has significantly reduced from a high of 266 in 2016-17, under the previous Liberal National Government, to 21 last financial year.
Overdue notices for water bills have also decreased in the State by 31 per cent, down to an average 43,002 notices per month last financial year from 62,455 per month in 2015-16 under the previous Liberal National Government.
Since March 2017, the McGowan Government has introduced a number of new programs to help people manage their water bills, including Time Assist, Start Over and Medical Assist.
The help provided to customers through these programs include; providing up to an additional three months to pay accounts, removing interest charges on overdue accounts when on a payment plan, reducing long-term debt, and providing an additional water allowance free of charge for those on kidney dialysis.
The McGowan Government has also made the Water Assist program more accessible. Last financial year, 433 per cent more Western Australian families were able to access the program to chart a path out of debt, compared to 2016-17. In the South West region the number of households able to access the program increased from 22 in 2016-17 to 84 last financial year.
Anyone experiencing difficulty in paying their account is strongly urged to contact the Water Corporation on 13 13 85 early, before their account becomes overdue. For more information about the programs on offer, visit: https://www.watercorporation.com.au.
As stated by Water Minister Dave Kelly:
“Since throwing out the heavy-handed approach of the previous government we have achieved a huge reduction in the number of South West households having their water reduced to a trickle for non-payment of bills.
“Moving to a customer sensitive and compassionate approach has reduced household water flow restrictions in the South West region by a massive 92 per cent.
“The previous Liberal National Government were cutting South West households water off at an alarming rate, by up to 37 householders a month in 2016-17.
“Reducing a household’s water to a trickle causes significant anxiety and distress, to people who are likely already having a hard time. This practice should only be used as a last resort.”