GWMWater posts $35m deficit

A VICTORIAN Auditor-General’s Office report shows GWMWater had the biggest net loss of any Victorian regional urban sector water authority in 2012-13.

The report, tabled in State Parliament on Thursday, showed GWMWater had a net loss before income tax of $34.8 million in the 2012-13 year.

The net loss jumped from $8.3 million in the previous financial year.

The loss was reported in GWMWater’s annual report released in September.

The auditor-general’s report covers the results of financial audits of 20 entities, including 19 water entities and one controlled entity.

Of the 19 water authorities, GWMWater had the third highest net loss, with only Melbourne Water and Goulburn-Murray Water ranking higher.

GWMWater managing director Mark Williams said the main influence on the net loss was a one-off depreciation and amortisation write-down of Wimmera irrigation system channel infrastructure.

“Last year we facilitated the process with Wimmera irrigators to sell their water entitlements to the Federal Government, which means those infrastructure assets are no longer required and the impact of that went straight to our bottom line,” he said.

“We have a substantially higher asset base than most other water entities in relation to the size of our revenue base. 

“We focus more on cash flow from operations and last year that was just over $10 million – it’s really that number we focus on more.

“As long as we are earning enough through cash flows to reinvest and do capital works, that is probably a better measure of our ability.”

Mr Williams said he anticipated the net loss would be far lower in 2013-14, although he said current projections estimated GWMWater would still be trading at a loss.

“We are undertaking a number of projects to improve water quality in places such as Minyip, Donald, Jeparit and Wycheproof but once those are completed we will go back to a more moderate program of investment,” he said.

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