COOBER PEDY News & Events


Water 4B

Coober Pedy awaits Government intervention. In the meantime water services in the town continue to experience a broad range of mishaps

12 months has passed [10 May 2017] since then State Treasurer Mr. Tom Koutsantonis requested that the State Auditor General examine the DCCP finances.

The state Auditor General issued a letter to the DCCP that contained the following information.

“As you may be aware, the Treasurer, the Hon Tom Koutsantonis MP requested that I examine the District Council of Coober Pedy’s (the Council) accounts under section 32(1)a of the Public Finance and Audit Act 1987 (PFAA).” 

“The Auditor-General must deliver copies of the report to the Council, the Treasurer and the President of the Legislative Council and the Speaker of the House of Assembly.”

One year later just as many were expecting the AG report to be completed and presented in the current session of Parliament, the following two paragraphs were noted below council’s monthly financial report.

“Council is about to undergo an ATO audit within the next few weeks. The ATO will investigate PAYG and Superannuation calculations and deductions from 2012.”  

“Further, they may investigate the consistency and application of GST payments and deductions, BAS report discrepancies if any, including Fringe Benefit Tax.”

In the same report it is recorded that the DCCP owes creditors $3,394,344 Million, with $3,335,819 Million being owed to Energy Generation (EDL) as at 31st March, with April account not included./not received.   Council also continues to owe $6,731,124 Million to the Local Government Finance Authority for monies borrowed.

LGFA loan was reduced slightly by a recent interest payment. Cash at bank is $734,831.

Coober Pedy was mentioned in SA Hansard last week by Local Member of Parliament, Mr. Eddie Hughes. In addition to his Giles portfolio Mr. Hughes is now Shadow Minister for Primary Industries & Regional Development.

South Australian Parliament Hansard 11-5-2018        

Mr EDDIE HUGHES   (Giles) (15:35):

I rise today to talk about a number of issues, especially in some of the smaller communities in my electorate… 

I want to start with Coober Pedy. Coober Pedy is a great community, and when I use the word ‘unique’ it has genuine applicability to Coober Pedy. It is in an incredibly challenging place.  

Earlier this year, I wrote to the then treasurer to indicate that I believed it was beyond the capacity of the Coober Pedy council to run some of the essential services that they were expected to run in that community when it comes to water and when it comes electricity distribution and billing. I thought, ‘Enough is enough. We need to take those responsibilities away from the council.’ 

They have an incredibly small rate base. They have had revolving door senior officers. They have had revolving door mayors.  

Many people in that community are socially and economically disadvantaged, yet we expected that council to run services that no other council in this state is expected to run.  

Last year, we ordered the Auditor-General to carry out an investigation into the Coober Pedy council, and I await with interest what the outcome of that investigation will be; irrespective, I believe that we do need to be looking at what services the Coober Pedy council have the capacity to run. 

There are people up there who have amassed electricity bills in excess of $10,000. These are people on Centrelink payments. They have no chance of being able to pay that back, and when people are cut off—these are usually people in above-ground housing in Coober Pedy—the consequences are pretty dire, especially if you have young kids or elderly people in those houses through the summer months. 

So I will be writing to the new government, laying out some of my thoughts about Coober Pedy and what needs to be done.  

I think, as a first step, SA Water would be a reasonable body to take over the running of the water assets up there in Coober Pedy. [Time expired] 

Coober Pedy’s water situation: that water pipes continue to split, burst, leak across town at the moment is not a criticism, it is a fact!

Last edition we reported that residents had expressed concerns that the water pressure was too high and was potentially the main cause of the crisis.

Mr. Colin Pitman Water Manager/Acting CEO did not have time to respond to our request for an update for the last edition, but Mr. Pitman has now agreed to some commentary.

“A reduction in water pressure from the plant by 30 kilopascals of pressure for the last 6 weeks which compliments a reduction in the water losses from 25% to 11%,” said Mr. Pitman.  

Upon request for more detailed information on previous pressure and current pressure, Mr. Pitman has provided the following comment.

“The water pressures have been reduced from 530Kpa to 500Kpa or a 3 m pressure head reduction”. Signed Colin Pittman, Acting CEO.

While this only refers to pressure reductions in the recent 6 weeks, we thank Mr. Pitman for his comment.

Mr. Pitman has written further information on a variety of other topics, and that can be found on page 7 of the current edition of the Coober Pedy Regional Times