Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Local Government spokesperson
With not one of TasWater's 80 treatment plants meeting modern standards and communities across Tasmania facing contaminated water supplies, the Hodgman Government seems to be walking away from its responsibility to ensure the state's crumbling water and sewerage infrastructure is brought up to scratch.
Local Government Minister, Peter Gutwein, today told Parliament that it is up to TasWater to fix the problem. It is up to its owners - Councils - to fix the problem, he said, effectively washing the Hodgman Government's hands of this serious public health issue.
The trouble is, progress has been happening at a snail's pace and residents in towns such as Winnaleah, White Mark, Rossarden, Avoca and Pioneer are being told not to drink their water because it's not safe, or to boil it before drinking.
In Avoca's water supply, cadmium has been detected. In Pioneer, detected lead levels are 22 times above Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. This is a danger to public health.
It is simply not good enough, particularly in light of TasWater's balance sheet and the estimated $560million GST windfall coming to Tasmania.
While Councils and the State Government drag their heels over investing in this critical public infrastructure, how long will Tasmanians have to wait before the water and sewerage system they pay for is brought into the 21st century?