THE State Government’s attempt to take over TasWater is bad policy based on scare tactics and misinformation.
Brighton Mayor Tony Foster told the Legislative Council Select Committee inquiring into the proposed Government takeover that this was a further example of bad government policy that would impact adversely on the community.
He said there were many instances where the government of the day had not got it right.
“For example, the establishment of broadacre housing developments in the early 1970s in Bridgewater, Gagebrook and Herdsmans Cove was not ideal and today we are still trying to come to terms with, and manage the issues associated with that decision-making.
“Affordable housing, health, education, transport, employment and energy costs are all by-products of poor government decision-making and they are still affecting our community nearly 50 years on.
“This all results from governments making decisions based on politics and not on common sense, community interest or a realistic perspective and the proposed TasWater takeover was a repeat of bad policy.”
Brighton’s submission to the Select Committee, pointed out that Tasmanian Councils stand to lose up to $45.7 million a year in lost distributions after 2025 if the State Government’s takeover is successful.
“Brighton Council’s losses alone will amount to more than $1.4 million a year, equal to 15 percent of the municipality’s annual rate revenue.
“That is something we cannot afford to lose and would result in significant rate increases, hitting an already disadvantaged community.
“These distributions are not held by Councils in their bank accounts, but are used to fund essential community projects such as roads, footpaths, community health facilities, parks and recreation areas, and other services vital to the community’s well-being.
“It will impact hard on Brighton and I do not want the future of young people growing up in our municipality jeopardised by poor legislation and policy.”
Cr Foster said he did not understand why Treasure Peter Gutwein and the State Government had embarked on this strategy – one that had no basis in fact nor benefit for our community.
Their pretext was a claimed crisis and third-world water and sewerage service in Tasmania.
“If you want to see a crisis you only have to consider the more than 60 million displaced people in this world who do not have access to drinkable water or more recently, the 400,000, and growing daily, Rohingya people who have had to flee Myanmar and currently are ensconced in tents in squalor in Bangladesh.
“If you want to see Third-World, visit parts of Africa or South Asia where raw sewerage is running down the streets.
“That is ‘crisis and ‘Third-World’, not the fact that a few small towns across Tasmania, representing less than one percent of the population, currently have issues with water that will be fixed by August 2018.
“My eldest son, a former Foreign Affairs diplomat, is currently serving with the United Nations in Kabul, Afghanistan where the people are under attack from the Taliban and even the simple pleasure of going to a cricket match comes with the danger of bomb blasts. That is Third-World and a crisis!
“It is disingenuous, dishonest and insulting in the extreme for Mr Gutwein to make claims of a crisis and Third-World water and sewerage systems when that is patently not the case in Tasmania,” Cr Foster said.