Letter to the Editor

May 14, 2018

With reference to ‘‘Price hike ire’’, published in The Shepparton News, May 9, regarding Foreshore Occupation Licences issued by Goulburn-Murray Water under the Water Act (1989).

G-MW has received almost 50 feedback submissions as part of our consultation process after we wrote to more than 330 licence holders last month proposing a new fee structure.

It’s important to note this consultation period remains open to May 18 and may be extended beyond if necessary.

We are actively encouraging community members and stakeholders to make a submission, to help inform our final decision.

G-MW’s final foreshore licence fee structure will be informed by all submitted feedback.

This is a complex issue to manage hundreds of kilometres of foreshore and the many structures built on or over the water. Our interest is in ensuring fairness.

The proposed new licences are intended to provide licensees with greater security.

The licence duration has been doubled from five to 10 years and meets landowner requests for a greater variety of structures to be licensed than traditional jetties and boat ramps.

We believe the proposed system is fairer as it means any person who has private infrastructure on foreshore land is licensed and allowed recreational use when it does not impact on operational requirements.

For the wider community, the licences allow for controlled development on water storages managed by G-MW.

With urban growth on our waterways and increasingly large recreational vessels, many have become major structures.

Licensing allows G-MW to manage environmental, public safety and operational concerns at these storages.

Licensing of structures is not new; it has been in place for many years.

It’s important to note the proposed fee structure has been reviewed by an independent consultant, including comparisons to similar interstate water storage management arrangements.

G-MW is unique in Australia as it is the only water authority which has private residential land abutting some of its storages and allows licensees to erect structures on the waterfront.

In other states, this is generally only evident on coastal lakes and river systems.

Our wider business provides services to more than 20000 customers. Most are irrigation customers, who must not subsidise our recreation customers.

Again, we welcome input.

Fill out the online feedback form at www.gmwater.com. au/existing-foreshore-licences

Alternatively, interested parties can meet with G-MW or phone 1800013357.

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