BARWON WATER FEE HIKE HITS LOCAL GOLF CLUBS

Lisa Neville, the Member for Bellarine, today met representatives of Bellarine and Surfcoast Golf Clubs.

Ms Neville said, “Five not-for-profit golf clubs in Bellarine and Surfcoast Shire have been hit hard by Barwon Water’s significant price increase for recycled water.

“The Clubs affected are Portarlington, Barwon Heads, Anglesea, The Sands in Torquay and 13th Beach Golf Links.

“They rely on affordable water to maintain their greens and fairways.  This is now a vital component in running a successful golf club.

Anthony Masters, the General Manager of 13th Beach Golf Links, said, “The Clubs use C-class recycled water and Barwon Water’s 2013-18 water plan significantly increased the current cost, in some cases by up to 300%.

“For 13th Beach alone, the impact is an increase of $60,000 per annum”

“We are not in disagreement with the cost recovery model that Barwon Water is using, the clubs are simply seeking to understand the inputs that drive the proposed pricing; specifically an explanation of what infrastructure has been built with the $4m Barwon Water claims to produce C Class water.

“It will also be crucial that transitional arrangements are put in place to manage the huge price increases. “

The Clubs met with Barwon Water in December last year, seeking this information and 13th Beach representatives met with the Minister for Water in June.  Ms Neville raised the issue with the Minister in Parliament but despite these efforts there has been no satisfactory response.

Ms Neville said, “These Clubs play an important role in local communities and are a major part of our region’s tourism industry, with events like the Victorian Open attracting increasing numbers of visitors to the Bellarine.

“It is vital that arrangements are made urgently to help them cope with the increased charges, so that they can continue to operate successfully.

“I will continue to work with the Clubs to push for a resolution to this situation.