Following extensive community consultation, the Minister for Water has confirmed that user-pays fees to recoup the $15 million annual cost to taxpayers for the State to administer water licensing will not be extended to agriculture and other sectors.
The fees currently apply only to the mining and public water supply sectors.
Water Minister Dave Kelly today released a report on consultation, undertaken over a 14-week period from August to November 2018 by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation on the recovery of some costs to assess water licences and permits.
Of the 176 written submissions and 257 participants at seven workshops across the State, there was some support for a level of cost-recovery if the revenue improved the existing regulatory system and timeliness of service delivery to licensed water users.
Feedback was also received on the potential financial impact of fees on business and communities.
Government has responded to this feedback in its decision to not expand the transactional water licence and permit fees beyond the mining and public water supply sectors.
As stated by Water Minister Dave Kelly:
“Last year we introduced regulations for water licence and permit assessment fees for the mining and public water supply sectors, which use large volumes of water and require significant effort in assessing applications.
“After industry consultation, the McGowan Government has listened to the community and has decided not to extend licence fees to other sectors such as agriculture.”