Murray Irrigation Limited needs to make fixed charges fairer for smaller landholders, according to a group of Southern Riverina farmers.November 14, 2012 4:14am
They say fees and policies set out in the company’s Network Service Plan (NSP), released last year and valid for five years, is geared toward big irrigators.
As a result, they say the fees are disproportionate, with smaller irrigators paying far more per megalitre of water.
Local landholder Graeme Close said there is about ‘‘350 little blokes’’ in the MIL network, all of which are being slogged with high water prices.
He and fellow landholders Jeremy Bell and Chris Braybon have encouraged all small landholders to take part in MIL’s current fee and policy review.
‘‘The only way we are going to get anywhere is to start whinging,’’ Mr Close said.
‘‘I have a property of five acres which has 15ML of water. I’d only use about 7ML of that and I’m paying almost $600 per ML.
‘‘There are some blokes with 20 acre blocks and 40ML of water, and they’re paying $200/ML. They would never use all of that 40ML, but that’s what they have got.
‘‘They would only need to put another dollar on the big boys to be able to drop the smaller ones by half.’’
Mr Bell said with the high fees, it is starting to become uneconomical to ‘‘do anything’’.
‘‘Most of the small irrigators are up in arms - we’ve got higher fixed outlet and landholding fees and the delivery charges are geared to the big irrigators.
‘‘MIL has promised to look at the structure, so we need small irrigators to complete the survey.
‘‘If we don’t do something now, we will just get run over.’’
MIL started its review in August, and MIL general manager Anthony Couroupis said it was developed as a result of customer feedback.
Customers are now being invited to provide official feedback in two phases, the first of which ends on November 23.
Minor increases have been scheduled for variable standard water usage fees, which have also been divided into three different payment structures.
The tier one fee is for users of between 0-5 megalitres of water, who will be subject to MIL usage fee increases of between $1.14 and $1.26 per megalitre over the next five years – to $44.17 in 2016/17. Added to government charges, which will also increase slightly, the total charge per megalitre in 2016/17 will be $124.
Tier two sets a price for between 6-100ML used. It proposed MIL usage increases of between $0.31 and $0.34 to end up with $11.94/ML in 2016/17 and a combined fee of $26.32/ML.
Tier three sets the price for landholders who use more than 100ML, and the NSP recommends MIL usage charge increases of between $.015 and $0.17. By 2016/17 the MIL usage fee will be $5.97/ML and the combined charge will be $13.17.
The amount collected from MIL variable rates over the five year period is estimated at almost $16.3 million combined.
Southern Riverina Irrigators chair Ted Hatty said he believes the higher charges for small landholdings sparked the review.
He believes MIL, through the review, is trying to have a more balanced approach to fees and distributing costs.
He also encouraged all customers to be part of the feedback process.
MIL believes the Network Service plan should allow it to turn around an operating loss. It will be done by implementing a number of new fees for the next four years.
It will eventually see the company’s estimated profits go from a predicted loss of $2.6 million in this financial year to a projected $782,163 profit in 2016/17.
‘‘The new policy established a range of new fees, including landholding access, outlet and tiered usage fees,’’ Mr Couroupis said.
The online survey can be found at www.murrayirrigation.com.au, and must be completed by 5pm on November 23. Another consultation round will be held in February 2013.
Police are asking for information about an assault in Shepparton that left a man with serious facial injuries and broken bones last month.
The 2014 Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival has been hailed a huge success by organisers and participants alike.
The fifth annual King Billy Retreat Open Garden Party will be held at Rushworth on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26, from 10 am to 4 pm.
Emily Umbers has been helping members of the Maasai community to get a toilet.
St Joseph’s Primary School students took part in an extended after-school stay.
Fraser sure has aces in spades
A great day brought big numbers to Station St in Seymour.
Finley's Mark Whiley has been traded from the GWS Giants to Carlton - the club he has supported all his life.
Nominations are being sought for the annual Axedale CWA community youth award.
Access to Ulupna Island has been blocked at key points, leaving local residents and businesses rallying for a re-opening in a bid to save tourism dollars.
Deniliquin McDonald's raised more than $1300 for McHappy Day on Saturday.
Up to14 new full-time jobs will be created at Pactum Dairy Group in Shepparton, with the company set to embark on an $18million expansion at its factory.
Alma Nungarrayi Granites is the most successful of the Warlukurlangu artists who still live at Yuendumu and enjoys teaching children about aboriginal culture and art.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.