BRIGHTON Council has agreed to a freeze on dividends from TasWater for a further seven years as a contribution to the water and sewerage authority’s 10-year capital expenditure program.
Councils agreed to a three-year freeze on dividend distributions in April 2015 and TasWater has asked that this be extended for a further seven years.Brighton Mayor Tony Foster said Council recently agreed to the freeze as a demonstration of local government’s commitment to secure Federal and State Government funding for important capital works in Hobart and Launceston.
Cr Foster said Brighton Council had agreed to the moratorium on increased dividend distributions provided TasWater secured commitments from the State and Federal Governments to contribute no less than $400 million for works over a 10-year period.
TasWater has estimated it requires $1.8 billion over the next 10 years to bring the State’s water and sewerage facilities up to an acceptable standard. It proposes a funding mix of $1.2 billion from its own resources, savings of $10 million, State and Federal grants of $400 million and $82 million from the freeze on distributions to the owner councils.
“While this decision will impact significantly, Brighton is looking at the big picture and Council is prepared to play its part in securing government funding for major and much-needed infrastructure works in Tasmania’s two big cities.
“The two projects capable of attracting federal funding are the Launceston sewerage scheme refurbishment and the relocation of the Macquarie Point sewerage treatment plant in Hobart. Brighton’s view is that these projects will advantage the entire state and not just the two cities.
“Not only does this demonstrate the support of the local government sector for infrastructure spending, but it creates the opportunity to leverage an $82 million commitment to achieve a potential $400 million in external funding for important infrastructure works.
“The additional impact on Brighton Council ‘s revenue as a result of this decision will be approximately $1.75 million over seven years, however, our long-term financial plan and prudent management will enable us to accommodate this.
“Our decision provides a very strong example of local government’s willingness to make a significant and tangible investment in Tasmania’s economic development and I trust that the other councils will share Brighton’s view.
“I am hopeful that this will then encourage the State and Federal Governments to commit the necessary grant funding,” Cr Foster said.