GM-W foreshore fees still on hold

By Myles Peterson

Goulburn-Murray Water is still considering a new scheme for its ‘‘occupational foreshore licence’’ fees following a public backlash last year, but for the moment is limiting any increases to match inflation.

The CPI-indexed increase should see fees levied on jetties and boat ramp licences go up by around $5.

Under the proposed new scheme floated the same time last year, some licence holders faced fee increases in the thousands of the dollars.

‘‘Our existing licensees took issue with the scale of the proposed fees and had other concerns relating to construction standards, historical use and the contribution some of these customers make to maintaining the foreshore,’’ G-MW water storage executive manager Martina Cusack said.

‘‘G-MW is continuing to work through these issues and will report back to customers. In the meantime, we will continue to offer existing licence arrangements for 370 current jetty and boat ramp licence holders.’’

Last year, both Water Minister Lisa Neville and her opposition counterpart Steph Ryan criticised the proposed increases, which would have seen fees rise by up to 600 per cent for some licence holders, soaring from about $300 per year, to more than $2000 in some instances, along with new fees levied on those who previously did not need a licence.

After initially flag the fee hikes, G-MW conducted a consultation phase that eventually ended in July with the increases being placed on hold until this year.

Kirwans Bridge resident and co-ordinator of a local campaign against the increases, Alan McLean welcomed the postponement at the time but expressed concerns it only a temporary win.

‘‘It would not be surprising to see this decision in the light of the upcoming state election when a whole new regime might take hold,’’ Mr McLean said at the time.

‘‘With matters on hold we all just have to wait and see, but I doubt that anyone would be baulking at a cost of living adjust. I’m sure I speak on behalf of a number of landholders in welcoming this extended breathing space.’’

Earlier this week, The News reported all senior executive positions at G-MW will be declared vacant with the positions expected to be refilled by July following the authorities new managing director Charmaine Quick taking up her position in February.