Justice, Opportunity and Shared Wealth for all South Australians

You are here

Consumer Advocacy and Research Fund (CARF)

 
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. 
 
SACOSS is funded by the Department of Human Services (DHS) to support our ongoing research and advocacy program with the objective to ensure that SA water consumers are effectively represented in water regulatory determinations, policy making and market monitoring  / development. 
 
SACOSS also receives funding to consult with key consumer groups to identify and recommend to DHS projects appropriate for funding under CARF.
 
The following projects have been funded under this process. 
 
2019/20
 
SA Water Revenue Determination Project (Business SA)
In progress
The purpose of this project is to investigate SA Water’s 2020-24 Regulatory Proposal to ensure all aspects of operating and capital expenditure are justified against best practice interstate and accurately reflect SA consumer preferences. Further, that all potential revenue reductions from externalities, for example reducing cost of debt, are made clear and can be specially separated from any revenue reductions associated with Government imposed reductions in SA Water’s Regulated Asset Base (RAB). As part of the project, Business SA produced a submission to SA Water's Draft Regulatory Business Proposal. They are in the progress of compiling a  submission to ESCOSA's Draft SA Water Regulatory Determination 2020 (expected 15th April 2020).
 
SA Water Revenue Determination Project: Pricing and Tariff Structures for Water (Uniting Communities)
In progress

The objective of this project is to determine recommendations for improved pricing and tariff structures for SA Water as part of the SA Water Regulatory Determination 2020. The intended outcome is to ensure robust policy mechanisms exist which provide for the needs of the diverse range of water consumers in South Australia. As part of the project, Uniting Communities produced a submission to SA Water's Draft Regulatory Business Proposal. They are in the progress of compiling a  submission to ESCOSA's Draft SA Water Regulatory Determination 2020 (expected 15th April 2020)

SA Water Revenue Determination Project: Analysis of Competing Supply Options (Conservation Council SA)
In progress

The objective of this project is to investigate SA Water’s proposed expenditure on water supply options contained in SA Water’s Draft Business Proposal and ESCOSA’s SA Water Draft Regulatory Determination. As part of the project, Conservation Council SA produced a submission to SA Water's Draft Regulatory Business Proposal. They are in the progress of compiling a  submission to ESCOSA's Draft SA Water Regulatory Determination 2020 (expected 15th April 2020).

 
2018/19
 
SA Water Revenue Determination Project and Related Advocacy (Uniting Communities)

Advocacy work with the objective of providing a consumer perspective on SA Water’s proposed expenditure over 2020-24 within the Essential Services Commission of South Australia’s SA Water Regulatory Determination 2020. The following outputs were produced as part of this project:

Independent State Water Pricing Inquiry (Business SA)

This project provided a consumer perspective on the Independent State Water Price Inquiry. Business SA produced two submissions to the Independent State Water Price Inquiry as an output of the project: 
  • Response to the "Cautious Conclusion" report
  • Response to the "A Balanced Bargain" report​

High Water Needs of Consumers Living with Disability and Their Families in South Australia (JFA Purple Orange)

JFA Purple Orange led a State-wide project to research and document the particular conditions for people living with disability which necessitate high use of water in South Australia. One-on-one interviews provided insight into living with disability, what water was used on, how high use of water impacts on their lives, how families go about managing their water needs and identified what would be most helpful to them in assisting with high water needs. The following report was produced as an output from the report. This project was a follow-up to a 2016/17 CARF funded project.
 
Supporting Regional Customers in Financial Difficulty Project (Kerri Muller and Jeannette Gellard)*
The project aimed 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. A Financial Hardship Toolkit was developed following workshops and interviews with financial counsellors and Council staff to better support customers experiencing financial difficulties. The toolkit includes resources such as draft policy templates, a hardship assessment tool, payment arrangement calculator, and referral lists.  Further information is detailed in the final report
 
*Note: this project was funded over 2 years (2017-18 / 2018/19)
 
2017-18
 
Financial Counseling Services Guarantee for SA Water Customers Project (SAFCA)
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. The following report was produced as an output of the project. 
 
Multicultural South Australian Water Consumer Project (Colmar Brunton)
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. The following report was produced as an output of the project. 
 
Achieving Water Security for Sustainable Farming Families and Communities Project (UniSA)
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 following report was produced as an output of the project. 
 
2016-17
 
Minor and Intermediate Retailers Research and Advocacy Project (SAFCA)
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. The following report was produced as an output of the project.
 
Water Consumers with a Disability Research Project (JFA Purple Orange)
JFA Purple Orange conducted face-to-face interviews and an online survey of 129 South Australian residential water customers living with a disability (or have a family member living with a disability) to understand issues faced in terms of use of water, cost and quality of access to water. The following report was produced as an output of the project.
 
Tenants and Water Charges Project (Uniting Communities)
Uniting Communities produced a report analysing the state of the water industry and the particular impacts current leglislation and practices have on tenants.