Aqwest welcomes your feedback. You may contact Aqwest via the Contact section of this web site or you may lodge a complaint by completing a Register of Complaint form.
The Register of Complaint forms can be sent to Aqwest by email, post or fax, please click here for a copy of the form.
If you are not satisfied with our initial response to your complaint you can contact our Chief Executive Officer; who will investigate further. If the matter still has not been resolved to your satisfaction within 15 days, you can refer the matter to the Department of Water for further investigation. If you are still dissatisfied you can refer the matter to arbitration.
What Happens When You Complain to the Department of Water?
Step 1 Contact Your Utility
When you have a complaint about your water service, contact your water utility and give them an opportunity to try and resolve your concerns. Water utilities are required to deal with complaints from their customers within 15 days.
If you approach the Department of Water with a complaint without first giving your water utility a chance to respond, the Department will ask you to take your complaint back to the utility.
Step 2 Lodge Your Complaint
If you have not been able to resolve your concerns through the water utility's complaints procedure, you can ask the Department of Water to investigate the complaint on your behalf.
We will need to know why you are not satisfied with the utility's actions, and what you would like to see happen to resolve the matter.
You can lodge your complaint with the Department of Water in writing, by telephone or by email. (If possible, send copies of any papers that will help us to understand the issues involved). If you would prefer to make your complaint in person, staff at the Department of Water are available to meet with you to discuss your case.
The office's contact details are:
Department of Water
Level 6, 168 St Georges Terrace
Perth WA 6000
PO Box K822
Perth WA 6842
Tel: (08) 6364 7600
Fax: (08) 6364 7601
While it is not essential for you to lodge your complaint in writing, doing so will assist the staff of the Department of Water to document and follow up your concerns and explain your complaint to others.
Step 3 Investigation
When your complaint is received at the Department of Water, we will seek further information on the nature of the problem, what has caused it, why you are unhappy with the response of your utility, and what action you would like taken.
In many cases staff from the Department will contact the water utility for further information. This usually involves sending them a copy of your complaint and asking them to comment on your case. We may also need to ask further questions, review the utility's files or hold meetings.
When investigating your complaint the Department of Water will try to mediate between you and the water utility. In dealing with you we will provide prompt, courteous, and where possible helpful responses to your enquiries. Staff will identify themselves to callers and follow up responses in a timely manner.
Step 4 Outcome
If the utility has made a mistake the Department of Water can recommend it reconsider or change its decision, apologise, or compensate you. A common outcome is for us to provide further information and explain why a particular decision was taken.
Step 5 Other Avenues
If you are dissatisfied with the way we have dealt with your case you can take your complaint to the Ombudsman, your local Member of Parliament, or the Minister for Water.
How long does an investigation take?
Most complaints can be solved quickly, some within the day but others typically within three weeks. Where your complaint is complex or requires consultation with your utility the response may take longer than usual. On such occasions you will be contacted and kept up to date on the progress of your complaint.
Mediation and Arbitration
Our mediation process relies on the co-operation of the customer and utility to reach a mutually agreed solution.
Where the Department of Water has decided that the water utility is at fault, it will ask the provider to take steps to put the matter right. In some cases the law or utility policies may not allow what you want. The Department of Water cannot direct a utility to take a specific course of action. However the Department of Water can make recommendations to the utility, report findings to the Minister for Water or release a public report.
Where it has not been possible for the Department of Water to resolve a dispute by mediation we may, with your permission, refer your complaint to independent arbitration. The arbitration process can make a binding decision for both parties.
Independent arbitration is a formal process in accordance with the Commercial Arbitration Act. You will have an opportunity to select the arbitrator from a list of qualified and experienced people prepared by the Department of Water. There is a fee involved that varies depending on the nature of your case. An average cost is approximately $500.
More detailed information on the arbitration process is available from the Department of Water