Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens' Northern Tasmania spokesperson
Northern Tasmanians welcomed the signing of the Launceston City Deal today. There was still no funding, however, to address the city’s underlying, and crippling, issue – its ailing water and sewerage infrastructure.
The Launceston City Deal projects can’t flourish without the water and sewerage infrastructure underpinning the city being upgraded. Increased development and population will only add to the already over-stressed, aging system.
The UTas move has wide support because of the opportunities it will create for students and Northern economy. Before the additional students can be properly accommodated, however, critical water and sewerage infrastructure upgrades need to be done.
The aging infrastructure leaves Launceston at risk of a public health disaster in times of high rainfall and flood. In last year’s floods, there was raw sewage flowing onto the streets in some suburbs.
The Greens welcome the liveability aspects at the centre of the City Heart project, first documented in the 2011 Gehl Report. For the project to flourish, its critical those recommendations aren’t so watered down the original feel of the urban renewal plan is lost.
We hope the $2 million allocated for the Tamar Estuary River Health Action Plan builds on the work already done by NRM North, and reduces pollution in the river through raw sewage removal, as well as education and implementation in the agriculture sector.
The State and Federal Liberals risk setting Northern Tasmanians up for failure unless they deal with the water and sewerage infrastructure issues, and holistically address siltation in the Tamar. The last thing Launceston needs is false hope.
Northern Tasmanians don’t want empty political promises. They need tangible actions that lead to a vibrant and successful future for Launceston.