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Old Parties Deny Tasmanians Opportunity for Best Practice Water Management

Andrea Dawkins

Andrea Dawkins  -  Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Tags: Water, Environment, Primary Industries, Health

Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens Water spokesperson

Despite clear evidence that water governance in Tasmania is fragmented in an age of accelerating climate change, both Liberal and Labor parties have refused to support a Greens' move to establish a Parliamentary inquiry into water management in Tasmania.

Water is the most precious and vital resource to the Tasmanian people, to farmers, businesses and government business enterprises that need water to generate and sell power.

Ensuring our irrigation, energy generation and drinking water supplies are well managed must surely be a priority. Yet the old parties have walked away from the opportunity the Greens have given them to ensure we get this right.

The status quo simply isn't working, a fact a growing number of Tasmanians will acknowledge.  

Primary Industries Minister, Jeremy Rockliff, told Parliament this afternoon that he is content with the current water governance structures in Tasmania.

If everything is as good as he believes it is, why is he hiding from an inquiry.

There are pressing water quality problems, including lead contamination and boil water alerts in towns across the State.  Yet, there is still no real-time water quality data available to water consumers in Tasmania.

TasWater does not have sufficient funding to upgrade its infrastructure so water quality remains a serious concern, and sewage has flooded the streets of both Launceston and Hobart in recent times.

It's almost impossible to get to the bottom of how Tas Irrigation meets the needs of primary producers and whether or not it is releasing environmental flows to protect internationally significant wetlands.

Hydro storages are at record, critical lows.   We need to be sure our Hydro storages are restored and well managed in the future.

These problems won't go away.  Climate change is already severely impacting on our water supplies and quality.  

Minister Rockliff demonstrated his government's short sighted, denialist attitude towards climate change when he crossed his fingers, cited the summer just gone and told Parliament he hoped 'we never see another year like it'.

Climate change is real and it's here, and a real leader wouldn't be afraid to tackle it.

There is an urgent need for Parliament to examine and report on water governance in Tasmania, in the public interest.

Today, the old parties voted against the public interest on water.