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Water wars -

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EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: Victoria's Coalition Government says its Labor predecessor is to blame for sharp increases in the cost of water.

Melbourne water retailers want to increase prices by about 34 per cent next year, to cover the cost of a new desalination plant.

While the price hikes are yet to be approved, the state government says there's little it can do.

TED BAILLIEU, VICTORIAN PREMIER: The contracts are in place, the bills have to be paid and they are going to cost consumers $1.8 million a day every day for the next 27 years and that translates into these increases in water bills. That's what the contracts say. This is Labor's legacy. This is what the previous government left behind.

EMMA ALBERICI: Labor has consistently maintained the desalination plant, which opened this year, will become an essential part of Victoria's infrastructure.