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State Budget 2016: Treasurer Washes Hands of Launceston Water and Sewerage

Andrea Dawkins

Andrea Dawkins  -  Thursday, 2 June 2016

Tags: Treasury, Water, Sewerage, TasWater, State Budget, Launceston, Alternative Budget


Launceston's crumbling water and sewerage infrastructure has not been allocated funds in this year's Budget.  The request from TasWater for $10 million over 10 years to help fund the whole state's infrastructure works received a passing mention on page 21 of the budget paper 1, indicating future conversations around efficiency.  Launceston residents, your own Bass constituents, want more than talk.  Do you agree that the people of Launceston deserve a sitting member who fights to fund essential services?  Why have you washed your hands of this critical issue?  Why is it that the Greens were able to find room in their budget for TasWater's proposal, but not the Government?



Madam Speaker, I thank the member and former alderman of Launceston City Council and former owner of TasWater for that question.

Members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  The House will come to order.

Mr GUTWEIN - What a hypocrite.  It is not long ago that the member was not only an alderman at the Launceston City Council, receiving around $4 million a year in dividends from TasWater as a major shareholder and a part owner of TasWater, but now suddenly something should be done about TasWater.  What did you do?  It is incumbent upon the member at some stage to explain what she might have done when sitting around the table.

TasWater brought forward a proposal and we will continue to have discussions with them, but local government needs to decide what it is going to do.  At the moment there is a proposal on the table from TasWater, which only three councils have signed up to.  The member would know, as a former shareholder of TasWater, that there are 29 individual owners.  They need to make a decision about whether or not they will support the proposition put on the table by TasWater.  As I indicated in the Budget and as I have said publicly before, we are prepared to work with TasWater.  However, first and foremost local government needs to determine what its position is, and as yet it has not.

That brings me to the other part of the question about local members standing up for their electorate.  Where does the member stand on the Hawks?  The member has suddenly had a road-to-Damascus moment in the lead-up to her own budget.  Only months ago she was supporting the Hawks in Launceston but now says, 'Cut the Hawks'.

Ms WOODRUFF - Point of order, Madam Speaker.  The Treasurer's comments have no relevance to the question that was asked whatsoever.  He is completely straying from the question that was asked.

Madam SPEAKER - Members know that if they ask a lengthy question containing numerous questions, it opens up latitude in the answer.  The Treasurer said he was addressing the second part of the question.  I do not know what else he has to say.

Mr GUTWEIN - I am very clearly answering the question relevant to local members and their electorates.  I think it is reasonable that I spend some time in explaining what that local member is doing to stand up for her electorate.  Very clearly, the Hawks are gone.

Members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  I do not want to have to suspend the House.  Everyone's behaviour is disorderly.

Mr GUTWEIN - It is incumbent upon the member to explain what she stands for.  Only a couple of months ago she supported the Hawks and the very strong benefits -

Ms Dawkins interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  I warn the member for Bass, Ms Dawkins.

Mr GUTWEIN - they bring to the electorate of Bass and broadly right across the north of the state.  The axing of the Supercars by the member -

Ms WOODRUFF - Point of order, Madam Speaker.  This has clearly got nothing to do with the question.  It is an outrageous diversion from the topic at hand.

Madam SPEAKER - That is not a point of order.  I have made my ruling.  Latitude was given and I ask the Treasurer to wind up.

Mr GUTWEIN - I will wind up. 

Mr Hidding interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  I warn the minister for Police.

Mr GUTWEIN - It is incumbent upon the member who asked the question to explain exactly what she stands for.