Minister for Water Dave Kelly has instructed the Water Corporation to cease the practice of threatening some regional customers with referral to the RSPCA due to overdue water bills.
During the past six months 10 customers have received letters threatening them if their water bill was not paid, the flow on their property would be reduced to a trickle, and the RSPCA would then be notified of the reduced flow to assess any resulting animal welfare issues.
Agricultural Region MLC Rick Mazza of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party raised the issue in Parliament on June 4, 2019 with a question without notice and said he was pleased with the outcome.
“This issue came to my attention after I received a copy of a letter from a primary producer located in an area of the Agricultural Region that is severely affected by the recent water shortages,” Mr Mazza said.
“The Water Corporation’s threats of referral to the RSPCA for late payers was inappropriate, especially in light of further water deficiencies being declared in Ravensthorpe, Lake Grace and the Shire of Kent.
“I am pleased the State Government has realised the implied threat of referral to the RSPCA, a non-government entity, is not appropriate or considerate.”
Minister Kelly has also asked the new chief executive of the Water Corporation to review processes for handling overdue farmer accounts.