Mid-May traditionally marks a shift in the activities of Goulburn-Murray Water.
This year is no different, with our operations turning to essential maintenance of our irrigation infrastructure following a summer marked by high water demand.
We are also delivering Connections project upgrades worth $100million to ensure the nation’s largest irrigation modernisation project remains on-track for completion in October 2020.
By October 2019, however, we will have drafted a document of great importance to our customers and our collective future. We’re now seeking your assistance in this critical six-month period for G-MW.
Every four years we put forward our proposed fees and charges to the independent umpire — the Essential Services Commission. The pricing submission we will draft by October sets out these fees and charges for the period 2020-2024.
As a non-profit authority, our pricing is structured to recover the costs of the services we provide and to maintain our assets — the dams, channels and meters we operate — into the future.
So we must collaborate with our customers to best determine the pricing and levels of service that best meets their needs.
From my perspective, collaboration on our pricing submission is an expectation our customers would reasonably want of G-MW, and something I absolutely insist on as managing director.
From the Essential Services Commission’s perspective, it is an obligation — our submission must reflect true customer input to ensure equity and transparency.
This process began last year with G-MW working groups determining the contemporary issues relating to pricing through to 2024.
Over the next few months this collaboration will be stepped up with a series of workshops, drop-in sessions and separate two-day summits on our service standards and tariff and pricing proposals.
We recognise our customers are busy, even if they are not irrigating over winter, and so the opportunities to engage with us will come to them.
More involved workshops will be held at our Shepparton, Kyabram, Kerang and Echuca offices.
Sessions for our pumped irrigation areas further west will be at a Swan Hill venue, for the convenience of these customers.
Drop-in sessions, for input on prices and any other G-MW feedback, will be held at smaller town venues within the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District and in the wider G-MW operating region, from Dartmouth to Daylesford, Eildon to Pyramid Hill and points in-between.
Our two-day summits for customers, on service standards and pricing, will be held at Echuca — a town central to G-MW’s operating region.
The dates, times and venues for all will be progressively updated on our website at: www.gmwater.com.au
We’ve also launched a ‘Your Say’ webpage at yoursay.gmwater.com.au where you will be able to provide feedback on all topics online.
At present, you can find a short survey we’re using to continually gather feedback from our customers, but again this site will be progressively updated.
We will be using this newspaper, and other regional media, to ensure all interested customers can contribute to our pricing submission.
We serve a diverse customer base so developing our pricing submission is a complex exercise.
Yet, in essence, our goals are simple: knowing the needs of our customers, providing the level of service they deserve and doing so at a fair price.