Water asset sale should not be dismissed
At the just-closed almost-public hearing, Mr Rob Noble made the suggestion that Central Coast's water assets might be sold, as part of the reorganization of Council's finances.
This idea has some merit and shouldn't be arbitrarily dismissed, as the Administrator has apparently done.
We are already selling real estate holdings, at a financial loss, to try to reduce the debt burden, and this kind of sale represents a concrete reduction of community assets that can never be recovered.
On the other hand, to pass the water-supply service to another agency merely means that the operation will continue under a different authority, in the same way as before, while the cash value to be realized could be applied to the Council debt, thus obviating the need for permanent rate increases on which our Administrator is so keen.
Central Coast is one of the few councils that are also a water authority, and putting the system into the hands of an agency that is specialized in the field might lead to greater management efficiencies.
It would be difficult to imagine that the service could be worse managed than it was under Central Coast Council, and it is not clear why the Administrator is so dead set against it.
That said, any transfer would have to be subject to some assurances that changes in water rates would be controlled in some way, or we could be even worse off.
While Sydney Water does not have an outstanding reputation with respect to service standards or price moderation, we already have agreements with Hunter Water, so why can't the possibility of a takeover be properly explored?
Our Administrator seems to be so obsessed with jacking up all our rates that I wonder how seriously he is exploring other avenues for meeting our revenue requirements.
Obviously, the idea of privatising the system would raise many other issues, but that is not what is being suggested here: What is being proposed is to transfer the responsibilities to another agency.
I'd be prepared to accept spending some money on a study of this possibility.
Email, 9 Nov 2021
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy.