Category: Australia Published on Friday, 15 June 2012 02:43 Written by Maaria Adam
Water Minister Peter Walsh said, according to the former government plan, Melbourne Water gathered an additional amount of $306 million from the consumers to cover the cost of Victoria's lagging desalination plant.
Melbourne's water authorities would be taking strict actions against the consumers who would not pay an overcharge for the Wonthaggi plant and those who underpay their bills as an objection, at the average $177 fee. The reimbursements were expected to initiate on July 1, 2013 during water plan three.
QC David Galbally said he has written a draft letter for the consumers to fill out and send it to the state government-owned water agency so that they can ask how much they have been overcharged and when they would be getting their money back. He said, "If it's not in a reasonable time, then they can look to taking some legal action being by class action or some legal action to get it back." He added, "They're (consumers) entitled to know how much on each bill and over what period of time they've been overcharged and they're entitled to know when they're going to get the money back."
John Lenders, the opposition spokesperson for water said it was understandable that the desalination plant was still in progress late last year that is why the Melbourne Water was overcharging.
Galbally urged the consumers to send the letter he had drafted as soon as possible as he said, ‘‘The money is not entitled to be held by Melbourne Water.” He also added, ‘‘if I was to take money out of my bank account that had been put in by accident by the bank, I would be made to repay that. If I didn’t repay it, I could well be charged for theft because there is no entitlement to have the money. Accident or no accident, once you’ve been told that the money you have in your hands doesn’t belong to you; you need to return it to its owner. It’s simple.’’