In­crease in peo­ple need­ing rate help

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - NEWS -

The num­ber of peo­ple need­ing help man­ag­ing their Gipp­s­land Wa­ter bills rose last fi­nan­cial year.

Act­ing man­ag­ing di­rec­tor An­gelo Saridis said there was a 60 per cent in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple suf­fer­ing fi­nan­cial hard­ship that were as­sisted with pay­ing their wa­ter and sew­er­age bills.

He said greater aware­ness and ed­u­ca­tion of the com­mu­nity and Gipp­s­land Wa­ter em­ploy­ees had led to the rise in as­sis­tance that he de­scribed as one of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s “suc­cesses for the year”.

Poli­cies to specif­i­cally help cus­tomers and staff ex­pe­ri­enc­ing fam­ily vi­o­lence were also in­tro­duced to pro­vide a range of mea­sures in­clud­ing af­ford­able payment ar­range­ments.

Price con­ces­sions to pen­sion­ers and not-for­profit or­gan­i­sa­tions also rose, to more than $6 mil­lion for the year.

Mr Saridis said Gipp­s­land Wa­ter had part­nered with a num­ber of bod­ies in the re­gion to keep jobs and ex­pen­di­ture lo­cally and its ex­pen­di­ture un­til is Lo­cal Jobs First pol­icy rose to more than $9 mil­lion.

A re­gional agree­ment was signed to pro­mote the in­clu­sion of Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple in train­ing and re­source man­age­ment and two Abo­rig­ines had been em­ployed un­der trainee­ships.

Six Abo­rig­i­nal cul­tural her­itage man­age­ment plans were com­pleted in the re­gion and two arte­fact sal­vages un­der­taken as part of works.

Mr Saridis added that the pro­mo­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits of tap wa­ter com­pared to bot­tled wa­ter con­tin­ued through spon­sor­ships of com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties and about 2000 stu­dents took part in ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams ex­plain­ing the need for wise use of wa­ter.

He listed avoid­ing the need to im­pose wa­ter re­stric­tions dur­ing the year as a re­sult of im­prove­ments in wa­ter man­age­ment and op­er­a­tions among per­for­mance high­lights for Gipp­s­land Wa­ter.

There was also sig­nif­i­cant progress on the $5 mil­lion sec­ond stage of the War­ragul-Moe in­ter­con­nect­ing pipe­line, de­signs com­pleted to up­grade the Drouin waste­water treat­ment plant and a start made on plan­ning a new wa­ter main to sup­ply the western side of War­ragul and Drouin.

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