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North East Water reviews customer support program

12 March 2024

North East Water is engaging with customers, service agencies and councils to improve the support it provides to people having difficulty paying their water bills or accessing services.

The corporation is proactively conducting surveys, interviews and workshops to better understand economic and social vulnerability issues in the region.

Marni Jones, General Manager of Customers, Community & Culture said North East Water was committed to listening to its customers to improve the support it provides and reduce barriers to its services.

“Our Board of directors recently met with leaders from a range of service organisations to hear from them how to better support people who are experiencing vulnerability and the agencies that are caring for them.

“Our staff are also directly engaging with customers who have previously sought help from North East Water and we’re holding workshops with local service agencies.

“The feedback will be incorporated into a new Fair Practice Customer Support Plan which will then help inform broader community engagement later this year for our draft 2026 price plan.”

Fifteen service agencies are participating in the engagement. They represent Aboriginal health, disability advocacy, elder rights, ethnic communities, community health, youth services, women’s health and family care, rural financial counselling, food support and local government.

Ms Jones said the discussions to date have identified the rising cost of living, access to services in the region, health and wellbeing, homelessness and housing availability as key issues for vulnerable customers and the agencies that support them.

"What we are hearing is that customers appreciate the support North East Water currently provides. They want us to continue to prioritise targeted support, ensure our services are well communicated and easy to access, maintain affordability and flexibility in bill payments, and importantly, be responsive to customer needs.”

North East Water provides water and wastewater services to more than 117,000 people across a 20,000 square kilometre region. Each year its customer support team helps thousands of people who are having difficulty paying their water bills or accessing services.

“Support is available right now to all customers who are having difficulty paying their water accounts,” Ms Jones said. “The most important message for customers is to let us know as soon as possible, so we can work out the best way to help.

“This may include more time to pay, flexible payment plans, community rebates, utility relief grants, help accessing concessions, as well as access to financial counselling and budgeting tools.”

North East Water’s support team is available on our website or on 1300 361 633.