The Consumer Advocacy and Research Fund (CARF) was established under the Water Industry Act 2012 to support research or advocacy that promotes the interests of consumers with a disability, low-income consumers, or consumers who are located within a regional area of South Australia.
Under CARF, SACOSS is funded by the Department of Human Services (DHS) to consult with key consumer groups to identify and recommend to DHS projects to be funded with the objective to ensure that SA water consumers are effectively represented in water regulatory determinations, policy making and market monitoring/development.
The following projects have been funded under CARF.
|Funding Year||Project Title||Project Status||Funded Body|
|2018/19||SA Water Revenue Determination Project||In Progress||Uniting Communities|
|2018/19||Water Pricing Inquiry Project||In Progress||Business SA|
|2018/19||High Water Needs of Consumers Living with Disability Project||In Progress||JFA Purple Orange|
|2018/19||Tenants and Supply Charge Project||In Progress||Uniting Communities|
|2017/18||Financial Counseling Services Guarantee for SA Water Customers Project||Complete||South Australian Financial Counsellors Association (SAFCA)|
|2017/18||Supporting Regional Customers in Financial Difficulty Project||In Progress||Dr Kerri Muller (NRM Pty. Ltd)|
|2017/18||Achieving Water Security for Sustainable Farming Families and Communities Project||Complete||Dr Joanne Tingey-Holyoak (UniSA)|
|2017/18||Multicultural South Australian Water Consumers Project||Complete||Colmar Brunton Research|
|2016/17||Minor and Intermediate Retailers Research and Advocacy Project||Complete||South Australian Financial Counselors Association (SAFCA)|
|2016/17||Consumers with a Disability Project||Complete||JFA Purple Orange|
|2016/17||Tenants and Water Charges Project||Complete||Uniting Communities|
Currently Funded Projects
- SA Water Revenue Determination Project (Uniting Communities): This project is intended to provide a consumer perspective on SA Water's proposed expenditure over the 2020-24 regulatory period
- Water Pricing Inquiry (Business SA): This project is intended to provide a consumer perspective on the Water Pricing Inquiry. Read Business SA's submission to the Independent State Water Price Inquiry produced as an output for this project.
- High Water Needs of Consumers Living with Disability (JFA Purple Orange): This project aims to document the particular conditions of people living with a disability which necessitate high use of water
- Tenants and Supply Charge Project (Uniting Communities): This project aims to review the extent to which tenants are required to pay the water supply charge. The intended outcome is to ensure policy and regulatory decisions relating to tenants give full consideration to the extent to which tenants are now required to pay the water supply charge
- Supporting Regional Customers in Financial Difficulty Project (Kerri Muller and Jeannette Gellard): The project is intended to provide minor and intermediate retailers with improved service options for customers in financial difficulty to build the capacity of these retailers to further assist regional customers. Activities will be aimed at educating retailers on the role of financial counsellors and developing a coordinated approach between retailers and organisations who offer financial counselling.
The South Australian Financial Counsellors Association (SAFCA) developed a proposal for a priority service arrangement that will enable SA Water customers to access fast-track financial counselling assistance. Under the model, it is recommended that customers across the state are able to benefit from face-to-face assistance, with a guaranteed appointment within two weeks.
Colmar Brunton conducted 40 in-depth interviews with water consumers from across metropolitan and regional South Australian to document the particular issues arising for SA consumers from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, in respect to the use, cost, quality and access to water in order to better understand, support and service their needs.
Researchers from UniSA undertook research to improve the sustainability of SA’s farming families by delivering better policies and enhanced equity of water sharing from rural farm dams through the development of a Water Equity Typology (WET) model for SA.
The South Australian Financial Counsellors Association (SAFCA) undertook a research project that surveyed 200 residential home owners who receive one or both services, to understand their levels of customer satisfaction.
Uniting Communities produced a report analysing the state of the water industry and the particular impacts current leglislation and practices have on tenants.