Yarra Valley Water – Citizens’ Jury vox pop wrap up

– [Paul] 30 people representative of the Yarra Valley Water community, 40 hours, over three
months, diverse backgrounds. Our challenge was obviously
very stated and very clear. To find a balance between
price and service, which is fair for everyone. So, that, was a very clear
scope with which we had to work. – I saw this as a real opportunity that I could make a difference that’s going to go beyond the
five days that we’re here, and just to leave a legacy. – Well, I’ve always been
quite an environmentalist, but always thought that
I was talking the talk, and never quite walking the walk. This seemed like quite a rare opportunity for someone in my demographic
and whatnot to actually go, okay, maybe I can actually have a say in some futuristic
prospects of a big company. – I have had very, very
limited knowledge on water before starting this
process, even the bills. I’m a tenant, so I’ve
never seen half the costs that most people complain about. For me, that was quite
eye-opening in itself. – I was rapt that we
actually do, will have a say. That one’s back of my mind as
the most interesting thing, that we’ll be of value and that’s great. It’s not just exercise. How big this process is, how
many people it will cover. It’s massive, it’s quite mind-blowing. – I think it’s more of a juggling act. You can’t really do one thing and then not have the impact on the other, to a larger extent. If you want better service, the price is going to have to up. If you want better price, the service is going to
have to suffer in some way. – I get shocked by some information that I learnt from the process that how many people
among the whole community that is in difficulty in paying the bills. There are 40 to 50 percent, I think, which is a really, really big number from my basic understanding. So we are here of course to find out a way to be representing these people and then to find out a way
that we can get a balance between price and service to minimise the impact to the water bills. – [Greg] For me, I think
when I first started here, I was a little bit fearful that we’d be just really
focused on price and cost. I think I was really heartened by the amount of discussions we’ve had around the impact on the environment and the importance of
water as a scarce resource. I think that comes out really
well in our recommendations. I think that everyone’s come together to really highlight the amount that the community cares
about the scarce resources. – The fairness concept
took a lot to nail out, because with such a
diverse group of customers, fair was very hard to define. We did come up with some
really good parameters. We used those parameters in
consideration of every one of the recommendations
that we made to make sure that they did meet our benchmark
of “fair for everyone.” We wanted to make sure that after you make your recommendation to the Essential Services
Pricing Commission, you’re not in the same
place in five years time. You’re actually prepared
for the next 50 years. You actually start doing stuff now that needs to be rolled out. One of the final things we
wanted to leave you with was, we hope that, at the end of all of this, that customers of Yarra
Valley Water actually do find value in their water and
they can appreciate it. – It’s not just looking at right now, what we pay here and now and
how that can be fair or not, but I think going
through the whole process has been very much a learning experience because when you come into
this process, you think, “I just want my bills
to be less,” you know. “I don’t want to pay that much.” But when you start to understand what is encompassed in each bill and what Yarra Valley Water actually do, then you’re much more
accepting of how much you pay. Once you get a concept of
how important water is, you’re far more willing
to pay those prices if not a little bit more. – [Calvin] Initially I though,
geeze, it’s going to be hard trying to find a solution
for this problem, given the complexity of
it and dynamics of it. But to come out with a
set of recommendations that’s clearly implementable, like there are things we can do, has been sort of rewarding,
coming through the journey. – I just want to say thanks to everyone. I know at the very start there were a couple of people going, “Hmm, how much of this
could we actually change, “or how could we make a difference,” and I hope that everybody
feels very proud of themselves, because I feel like we have truly made a very good difference. (soft music)

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