Because your property is able to be connected to the water or sewer network.
Sewerage and water access charges are set prices per year applied to properties with access (connected or unconnected) to the sewerage and water network. They pay for the cost of building, maintaining and replacing the pipes, pumps and other infrastructure that delivers these services.
As with all critical public infrastructure (transport, telecommunications, health), it is important for all members of the community to contribute to the development and upkeep of this infrastructure, so that everyone can have the benefit of it now and in the future. Unitywater charges access fees in accordance with the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 (sections 164 and 165), which states that Unitywater must provide access to the sewerage and water network to every property in its service area, and may recover the cost of this from the customer:
164. Access to service in service area
(1) The service provider must, to the greatest practicable extent, ensure that—
(a) all premises in the service area are able to be connected directly and separately to the service provider’s infrastructure for the area
165. Recovering cost of giving access to registered service.
The service provider may recover from a customer the reasonable cost of complying with section 164 for the customer’s premises.
This legislation dictates that Unitywater must provide a sewerage and water network to every property in the service area. It does not require that properties are connected, but only that properties are ‘able to be connected’ to the infrastructure. Access charges are therefore applicable to all vacant and improved properties within the Unitywater service area.