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TasWater - Treasurer mistaking aggression for strength


Andrea Dawkins

Andrea Dawkins  -  Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Tags: TasWater

Andrea Dawkins - Madam Speaker, what a solemn speech that was, hearing from Mr Hampton himself.  Why wouldn't he want to have a voice in this place?  If in fact the Privileges Committee has held up his citizen's right of reply and the upper House inquiry is being rushed, which certainly seems to be happening, I cannot imagine how else he could have had his words put into the public arena.  Why shouldn't he speak out, not only on behalf of himself and his colleagues and board, but also for others who might look at making Tasmania home and want to head up a company or an organisation such as TasWater to the benefit of themselves and the greater community? 

I have not seen anything like this ever in my time as somebody who has been following Tasmanian politics.  Imagine if every single person who came to the Treasurer or anybody in government and said, 'We need some money.  We've got a big problem and this is how we're going to attempt to resolve it but we need some support from this level of government', and that person said, 'Don't worry, we can help you, we'll just take over your organisation.  We'll have COTA, we'll have TasCOSS, we'll have the Alliance for Pokies Reform.  We'll take you all on because we think we can do a better job than any other organisation in Tasmania'.

We know this has been political; we know it has only been to the political advantage of the Treasurer who consistently mistakes aggression for strength.  There are others in the community who also do that but there are many more, I believe, who see that aggression and tyranny he brings to his role, especially being played out with TasWater right now, and do not see that as a strength for this Government. 

Mr Hampton came in good faith to speak to a contemporary about an issue and how it was going to be resolved.  Everyone in this place has been hearing all of their lives about the problems we have in replacing our colonial - in some parts - water and sewerage infrastructure.  When Mr Hampton voiced his concerns and asked for support he would not have expected this outcome.  Of course he had to outline the issues as he saw them.  That does not mean this was a green flag for this Government to mount the hostile takeover they have now mounted. 

While they are doing that they are forgetting the responsibilities of this Government to speak to the agriculture sector.  To bring in plans to stop livestock from increasing the faecal bacteria in kanamaluka/River Tamar would be a very good start, especially for the Treasurer who lives near Launceston and who represents Bass.  There are so many errors of judgment.  Why not strengthen TasWater?  Why not add the $10 million a year over 10 years?  Why not ensure that process was undertaken and then look at the ways you could improve the water quality of our rivers?  Do more work with NRM.  Look at the faecal bacteria report.  Talk to your primary industries minister.  Talk to Dairy Tasmania.  Figure out with TFGA how every member is going to fence off their riparian zones.  Look at the Tamar Canal plan.  Bring back that flow from tailrace back up to the bridges.  Fill the yacht basin.  Do it in a way that ensures collaboration from all of the brilliant people in Tasmania who have a plan to resolve these issues.  Do not denigrate the very people who could resolve it and then try to coopt their work.  Support them, collaborate with them and be the contemporary government that this state expects you to be.