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The Mystique of Water Pricing and Accounting


Correspondence: Nicholas Pawsey, Accounting, La Trobe University, Wodonga, VIC, Australia. Email:


This article considers the pricing and accounting conventions of government-controlled water entities in the state of Victoria, Australia. These conventions are guided by principles of cost-reflective pricing, public sector accountability and comparability of private and public sector performance. We observe how Victorian water entity prices and their reported performance are shaped by government accounting policy discretion, and the result of various compromises between economic and political considerations. By bringing these issues to light, we hope to keep political decision-making about water infrastructure and water pricing in check.