Land Developers were key stakeholders in our 2023 Price Submission. We held a workshop for key land developers.

A number of things raised in the survey were discussed, however the biggest topic was New Customer Contributions (NCC’s) and how shared contributions are assessed and managed.

Developer feedback received through the survey process and workshop was summarised and provided to the Community Panel for inclusion in their deliberations.

Information sessions

We held a series of information sessions for land developers and consultants during the week of 20 June 2022. NCC's were the key point of discussion and some feedback around different options was received. More detail can be found in the link in the right hand column.

We considered the feedback and refined some options and presented them to key developers at an additional online meeting on 4 August 2022. We put three options to a vote via a final survey which closed on 8 August 2022.

VicWater Project

The way NCC’s are charged across the water industry varies greatly. VicWater took the lead on a project to understand this, and worked with eight water corporations to come up with a consistent approach.

The VicWater work has now been completed and it recommends the adoption of an ‘average incremental cost’ approach to calculating NCC’s. This will result in some changes to how we approach and charge for NCC’s.

To fully understand how this would impact on us and our customers, we worked with a consultant to apply the average incremental cost methodology to our current NCC pricing structure.

We re-engaged with developers in June 2022 to share these outcomes through a series of information sessions.

Improving the experience

Based on the feedback we have received, over the next 24 months we will be improving our processes and how we handle applications for planning and new connections.

This will involve:

  • Establishment of new online forms which interact with our new Customer Records Management and Billing System to better track and manage applications;
  • Establishment of a new Applications Portal so developers and applicants can login to track progress and status of their application/s.

Both of these technical changes as well as internal process improvements, will increase transparency and visibility, thus improving the overall experience and the ease of doing business with us.

Topics discussed in November 2021

Prior to meeting with developers in November 2021, we conducted a preliminary survey with them, and the results are grouped into three key themes. We will use this feedback to plan future engagement activities.

Below is a summary of what we were told.

The overarching theme is transparency. The three key themes are cost, strategic planning, and time.

Fair and transparent costs

  • Transparency of New Customer Contributions (NCCs). What planned works are included in the NCCs?
  • Perceived increased standards in construction which increase development costs without little / no negotiation with stakeholders
  • Lack of transparency from Coliban Water in the pricing of NCCs and the % component included capital works % contribution included in figures
  • Review of pricing for new private landowner pressure sewer pumps which is now controlled & administered by Coliban Water.

Transparent strategic planning

  • Formalise methodology for developers in delivering shared assets
  • Forward planning of infrastructure requirements, both upgrades and new installations
  • Good technical staff
  • Plan and provide for future subdivisions in the growth areas such as Marong, Huntly and Strathfieldsaye
  • The correct and timely provision of the necessary infrastructure to service new development area.
  • Availability of trunk infrastructure
  • Strategic Planning of significant shared assets, facilitation of their construction, and cost sharing scheme to encourage some non-sequential development in large growth fronts (Eg: Maiden Gully north west).

Clear timelines and expectations

  • Delays in response times, checking of plans & compliance for consultants/developers who are paying customers
  • Timelines for the construction of infrastructure to greenfield areas to avoid delays in development
  • The number one thing would be to provide land developers with a staged timeline of processes and approximate time frames of what each stage takes. I know that some find it very confusing and overwhelming, but having a plan or diagram that they can go off of would be a good start
  • Ensuring that Coliban Water have clear processes and contacts, Lastly just the communication especially since Covid and various staff working remotely, we are finding it hard to get responses/call backs and things are very delayed. We understand the work has picked up but the communication needs to remain open
  • Provide planning and approval responses in parallel with other authorities and not in isolation
  • Provide planning and the preferred requirements at the beginning of the planning process to reduce both time and costs for all sides