More than 3,500 customers have helped shaped Gippsland Water’s plans and pricing for the next five years.
Over the past 18 months, local community groups, businesses and residents have shared their expectations, priorities and ideas through a range of methods culminating in Gippsland Water’s first ever customer summit.
Held over 3.5 days in April, the summit allowed 30 customers to explore key issues that affect the cost of their water and wastewater services and develop a series of recommendations on them.
Issues considered at the summit included the cost of water and wastewater services for major industry; the cost of adding new connections to the network to cater for population growth and the cost of maintaining recreational facilities at places Gippsland Water sources water from, but doesn’t own or manage.
Customer summit panel member Margaret said it was a challenging and exciting process.
“I don’t know that anybody thought the topic of water could be so interesting and that the questions would be so complex, yet we went through a process and despite a diversity of views, we were able to make decisions,” she said.
Managing director Sarah Cumming, who attended each day of the summit, said that Gippsland Water highly valued the panel’s input and was committed to implementing the its recommendations to the maximum extent possible.
“It’s been a privilege to collaborate with the panel on such complex and important issues through the customer summit.
“Their deliberations and eventual recommendations were sophisticated, well-considered and are likely to have a favourable impact on bills once implemented.
Ms Cumming said the organisation’s planning has taken on board community input received over the last 18 months through surveys, pop-up events, online events, in-depth interviews, focus groups, stakeholder meetings, and deliberations with its Customer Reference Group.
“The process has been very much customer-led, giving us confidence that the future of our water and wastewater services reflects their priorities and expectations.”
The draft direction of Gippsland Water’s Price Submission to the Essential Services Commission is expected to be released for community feedback in early July, with the full submission due in September 2022.
For more details regarding Gippsland Water’s plans and progress with its Price Submission, visit www.gippswater.com.au/LetsTalk