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Sydney Water Annual Report 2009
Statutory information: Social programs
 
 
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In this section:

 

 
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Sydney Water operates several social programs at the direction of the NSW Government for:

  • equity and affordability – to give customers adequate access to water, wastewater and drainage services
  • environmental objectives – to protect sensitive environments and waterways.

Income forgone and scheme expenses were reimbursed by NSW Treasury, via the NSW Office of Water. During 2008–09, Sydney Water’s social programs totalled $112.7 million. This included:

  • Pensioner Rebate Scheme – $101.0 million
  • Exempt Properties Scheme – $10.3 million
  • Hardship Policy Scheme – $0.5 million
  • Blue Mountains Septic Pump-out Scheme – $0.9 million
  • Priority Sewerage Program – $0 million.

This represents an increase of 19% or $17.9 million from the previous year.

Pensioner Rebate Scheme

Sydney Water gives a rebate on water, wastewater and drainage service charges to pensioner concession cardholders. The rebate covers 100% of the water service charge, 50% of the stormwater drainage service charge and 83% of the sewer charge.

In 2008–09, 116,000 pensioner households received a rebate on water, wastewater and drainage service charges. The typical rebate amount was about $475 a year.

Exempt Properties Scheme

The Sydney Water Act 1994 specifies that certain categories of property are exempt from paying service charges. Exemptions are granted following a formal application and on-site inspection. Land owned and used by organisations that provide non-profit community services and amenities are generally treated as exempt properties.

In 2008–09, service charge exemptions were granted to over 11,000 properties at a total cost of $10.3 million.

Hardship Policy Scheme

This scheme is designed to reduce the impact of price increases on large families and low-income customers. During 2008–09 the scheme included:

  • financial rebates for low income, large families with water use over 100 kilolitres a quarter
  • No Interest Loans Scheme for buying water efficient appliances
  • Residential Retrofit Scheme of water savings devices for large families
  • Payment Assistance Scheme offering emergency relief in the form of payment vouchers that are credited to a customer’s water account.

Blue Mountains Septic Pump-out Scheme

In 2008–09, Sydney Water continued to subsidise the Blue Mountains Septic Pump-out Scheme benefiting about 430 properties. Demand for this scheme is expected to decrease over time, as properties are connected to reticulated sewerage services under the Priority Sewerage Program.

Priority Sewerage Program

Under this program, Sydney Water extends reticulated wastewater services to unsewered areas following agreed government priorities and funding arrangements.

Five-year history of social program funding

Social program ($M)

2008–09

2007–08

2006–07

2005–06

2004–05

Pensioner Rebate Scheme

101.0

82.7

78.2

73.9

69.5

Exempt Properties Scheme

10.3

7.5

9.8

8.8

8.7

Hardship Policy Scheme

0.5

0.4

0.4

0.7

N/A

Blue Mountains Septic Pump-out Scheme

0.9

0.8

0.8

0.8

0.9

Priority Sewerage Program

0

3.5

0.5

1.9

0.0

Total

112.7

94.8

89.7

86.1

79.1

social program funding

This graph shows the increase in Government support to pensioners and other low income households to ensure affordable access to water, wastewater and drainage services, in response to general price increases.