Yarrawonga jetty licences

23 May 2018, Mr McCurdy (Ovens Valley): My adjournment matter is to the Minister for Water, and the action I seek is that the minister or a senior member of Goulburn-Murray Water come to Yarrawonga and explain to those with jetty licences why the Andrews government has increased the jetty licence fee by over 100 per cent, and higher in many instances.

Some background to this issue is that the Murray River is a shared resource by Victoria and New South Wales.

On the Victorian side Goulburn-Murray Water is the responsible authority for managing that waterway.

I started receiving phone calls and emails to my office two months ago, and there has been a steady flow since then.

Jetty owners have been paying a reasonable fee for the privilege of accessing the waterways from their home properties. This has been a fair and reasonable fee up until this year.

However, this year Goulburn-Murray Water has decided that it will change the criteria without consultation, and in most cases it has more than doubled the fee for the coming year.

This is an outrageous increase and is nothing more than a cash grab by a government determined to increase taxes and charges to all and sundry.

Goulburn-Murray Water has been caught red-handed gouging customers, and I respectfully request that Goulburn-Murray Water visit Yarrawonga between now and when licence fees are due and payable, which is 15 June this year, and justify the charges, not just send a 'Dear John' letter from the safe haven of its comfortable offices.

The cost of living is now the number one concern of Ovens Valley residents, and this grab for cash is not helping.

Many residents have been in their homes for many, many years and cannot afford such outrageous increases.

I ask the minister to dispatch a Goulburn Murray Water delegation to Yarrawonga to talk with the community.

The government holds a monopoly over licence fees and has a responsibility to be fair, not to take a bloody-minded approach to taxing and charging, particularly in this instance where there are no other options for customers. In fact 'customers' is probably not the correct terminology in this instance; 'hostages' is a better word to describe the situation.

I would be delighted to chair a meeting on behalf of the community, so I respectfully ask that the meeting is not planned on a parliamentary sitting day and that I am contacted to confirm suitable dates.

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