An independent inquiry into water supply and sewerage services has recommended that Tweed Shire Council remains as a stand-alone entity in regards to its local water utility business.

The report on the inquiry’s findings recommended the Regional Aggregation option, which would see the Tweed remain a stand-alone entity, along with seven other local water utilities – Wingecarribee, Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla, Bega, Queanbeyan, Tamworth and Clarence Valley.

Under the Regional Aggregation option, authorities in the Richmond Valley (Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Kyogle and Rous) would be aggregated (grouped) into one group, with only Tweed and Clarence Valley standing alone.

This would result in 32 entities across the State — eight stand-alone council utilities and 24 alliances or water corporations.

Under the alternative Catchment Aggregation option, there would be 15 aggregations or groupings of local water utilities.

This would see the Tweed aggregated with councils in the Richmond Valley. Clarence Valley would be aggregated with Bellingen, Coffs Harbour and Nambucca Heads.

The entities would be alliances or water corporations.

The report recommends Option 1 – Regional Aggregations – be adopted as a guide for future local water utility aggregations.

Tweed Shire Council’s General Manager Mike Rayner welcomed the report’s recommendations.

“From the Tweed’s perspective, the report’s recommendations and preferred options are good news in that Tweed Shire Council will continue to manage, own and operate our water supply and sewerage services,” Mr Rayner said.

The Report on the Independent Inquiry into Water Supply and Sewerage Services for Non-metropolitan NSW was released by the Minister for Water, Rural Affairs and Regional Development, Philip Costa.

The inquiry recommended options for improving the organisational structure of local water utilities, including alliances and council-owned regional water corporations.

Two options were proposed – one based on regions and the other on catchment areas.

To view the report, visit the website www.dwe.nsw.gov.au/water/utilities_local.shtml.

Submissions on the report are invited and must be received by 5pm Friday 13 March.

They can be emailed to waterinquiry@dwe.nsw.gov.au or posted to:

Local Water Utility Inquiry
Department of Water and Energy
GPO Box 3889
SYDNEY NSW 2001