TasWater stoush bubbling
Tensions are high at TasWater, where a state takeover is looming.
TasWater chairman Miles Hampton has called on Treasurer and Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein to stop using the company as a “political football”.
Mr Gutwein has been agitating for a State Government takeover of TasWater, as he believes the authority is not moving fast enough on plans to fix water and sewerage infrastructure.
The state’s councils held an emergency phone meeting this week, at which they agreed that the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) would respond to the takeover plans.
LGAT chair Doug Chipman says the councils agreed on a position that there is no water crisis, that council must work with the State Government to meet the needs of all communities, and that Mr Gutwein has not provided sufficient detail about his ideas for TasWater.
“If the Treasurer has a plan, we would all like to see it,” Mr Hampton told reporters.
“The Treasurer also says he can solve Tasmania’s water and sewer]age challenges in five years or less by leveraging the state’s balance sheet, in other words by running even greater debt now for others to pay later. Money is only one aspect of delivering real projects on the ground.”
Premier Will Hodgman said the important thing is fixing the water and sewerage infrastructure.
“These options are now being considered and it’s about time,” Mr Hodgman said.
“We’ve got to a point where there are 25 towns on boiled water alerts and that affects our brand, it affects our visitor economy and it affects the lives of people who live in those places.”
State Opposition leader Bryan Green said councils were feeling left out.
“There’s no doubt when you talk to representatives of councils they are annoyed at the way this government is treating them,” Mr Green said.