Central Coast Council has commissioned an independent review of the model governing its water and sewer operations.
Council CEO, David Farmer said the review was Council undertaking due diligence in the ordinary course of its business to explore if there were opportunities to produce better value and return on investment for the Central Coast community.
“Central Coast Council is unique in New South Wales in being the only Council owned water authority alongside the State owned Sydney Water and Hunter Water. This means there is a complex legislative environment requiring Council to adhere to dual regulations across both the Local Government and Water Management Acts," Mr Farmer said.
“In some parts, this dual compliance is contradictory and causes inefficiencies in how the water and sewer operations can be governed because the business is currently managed as an arm of Council.
“Council’s water and sewer assets are valued at close to four billion dollars. Our obligation to the community is to ensure we are maximising the value of these assets, and improving efficiency and performance in how water and sewer services are delivered.
“This review is about gathering and assessing all the data to get an informed view of all the possible operating structures. No decision has been made about a future model and whilst there is no intention to sell the water and sewer assets, this will be one of the options in the comparison of operating structures.
"The scope of the review includes investigating alternative governance models including commercialisation within Council, corporatisation, joint venture or selling the assets. These will all be compared against the status quo. The sale has been identified as a “non-preferred option” but has been included for completeness.
“I can assure the community that there will be no impact to the delivery of water and sewer services during this review."
Council Administrator, Rik Hart said he supported the review but remained adamant he was not in favour of any water and sewer asset sell-off.
“Council’s water and sewer assets generate significant revenue and once profitable, ratepayers should benefit on an ongoing basis. There is no plan to sell this business,” Mr Hart said.
The review will continue for the next few months with a report to Council with any recommendations. Staff and unions have been informed about the process.
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Last updated : Thu 29 Jul 2021
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