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The Australian Urban Water Sector A ‘World’ of Approaches

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Until the late 1970's water services in Australia were provided by public utilities with limited regulation or overview. Corporatisation began in the early 1980's with the resultant companies required to pursue commercial outcomes in addition to protecting community health and environmental quality. A more national framework was established with the COAG Water Reforms National Competition Policy (1994) and more recently the National Water Initiative (2005). The overall structures have similarities with separation of service delivery, regulation and policy setting. However there are differences in the extent of private company involvement and the actual structures include vertical integration, horizontal disaggregation, internal and external service contracts. These reforms have yielded substantial reductions in the cost of services and driven the development of skill sets such as asset management and business processes. The recent drought/climate change has lead to substantial capital investment and series of further institutional and organisational initiatives.

Keywords: Corporatisation; Cost Reductions; External Regulation; Market Based Approach; Organisation Structures

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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