BRIGHTON Council has strongly rejected the move by Treasurer Peter Gutwein to take over Tasmania’s water and sewerage services and says the Minister is pandering to vested interests rather than looking after ordinary people.
At its March meeting, Council voted unanimously to oppose the State Government takeover of TasWater and expressed its determination to take up the fight to protect its ratepayers and community.Brighton Mayor Tony Foster said Councillors were strident in their condemnation of Mr Gutwein and believed his move, if successful, would cost Tasmanians dearly.
He said it was no coincidence that the Treasurer was being supported by the Property Council and other big vested interest groups who believed they could benefit from the takeover.
“Mr Gutwein has long been doing the bidding of the Property Council in attacking local government and his grab for TasWater is simply a continuation of this.
“While he has provided no substance to back up his plan, nor said how the infrastructure upgrading work can be completed in a reduced timeframe or explained how costs will be lower, the truth is TasWater will be saddled with debt to the point where it will be unsustainable and Tasmanian ratepayers will pay substantially more.
Cr Foster said the Treasurer was rapidly becoming the ‘Donald Trump’ of Tasmanian politics.
“He makes outlandish claims, has no facts to back them up, bullies and berates opponents and has absolutely no respect for the truth.”
“The biggest lie of all is the Treasurer’s claim that Tasmania has a water and sewerage crisis.
This has been debunked by TasWater, the Local Government Association of Tasmania and the recently released Bureau of Meteorology report.
“TasWater is successfully implementing a fully and responsibly funded infrastructure upgrading program over 10 years that will ensure all Tasmanians enjoy the highest standards of water and sewerage services. This will also provide the optimum return to Tasmania in terms of employment and economic activity, as well as restraining TasWater and council rate increases.
“Today, more than 99 percent of Tasmanians have access to Australian quality standard water and by August next year, one month after Mr Gutwein’s proposed takeover, all Tasmanians will have, so where is the crisis?
“Without doubt, the current model best serves all Tasmanians, particularly Tasmanian households and families and not just the big end of town who support the Mr Gutwein.”
Cr Foster said Brighton Council supported TasWater’s plan and would make every effort to stop the attempted takeover grab by the Treasurer and the State Government.