Brighton to support local government’s TasWater campaign

BRIGHTON Council has agreed to support the Local Government Association of Tasmania’s campaign to fight the State Government’s proposed takeover of TasWater.

However, the support will be in-kind in the form of its own campaign activity rather than by way of a cash contribution.

Mayor Tony Foster said Brighton Council had been a leader in opposing the hostile takeover of TasWater and would continue its own campaign to point out the deficiencies in the State Government’s proposal and the advantages to councils and ratepayers by retaining ownership.

“Our promotion and information provision will support the LGAT campaign and also the communication from TasWater Chairman Miles Hampton and TasWater management.

“Brighton’s ratepayers have made a significant investment in the water and sewerage assets transferred to TasWater and it is appropriate we receive a fair return.

“Treasurer Gutwein’s offer to councils equates to a miserable six cents in the dollar on these assets and this is unacceptable to Brighton and other councils.

“Despite the Treasurer’s spin, a State Government takeover of TasWater would inevitably result in increased council rates because of the reduction and potential disappearance of dividend payments, and higher water and sewerage charges in the long term, to pay for the Government’s planned increased borrowings.

“Brighton Council uses our TasWater dividends to fund important community programs such as roads and footpaths, parks, recreation, community health services and the like. Our ability to do this would be severely limited under the State Government plan.

“As an owner council, we have a responsibility to protect our ratepayers’ asset, and any campaign cost is insignificant when compared to our investment in TasWater.”

Cr Foster said Brighton Council was determined to fight the Government’s hostile takeover bid and would continue its campaign as long as it was necessary.