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Treasury - Water Licences

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 6 September 2021

Tags: Water, State Budget

Ms O'CONNOR - Going to page 86, General government revenue, are you aware that in water licence fees we're only expecting to make a little over $2 million a year out to 2024 25? Are you aware, for example, that Van Dairy pays one cent for 38 000 litres of water out of the Way River, and it pays 26 cents for 1 million litres of our most precious resource?

Mr GUTWEIN - I was not aware of that. Was that an existing water right that they purchased?

Ms O'CONNOR - I gather so. I know that is what they pay, and for 20 million litres used each year, they pay around $6000.

Mr GUTWEIN - I will need to take advice on that. I don't have those details in front of me.

Ms O'CONNOR - Again, our water licensing fees are the lowest in the country, which allows a corporation taking 20 million litres out of the Way River to pay less than the price of a second-hand car.

Mr GUTWEIN - If it wasn't Van Dairy, would you be happy if it were the council?

Ms O'CONNOR - No, that is the emblematic example. I have a view on the ownership of that dairy that is shared by many Tasmanians.

Mr GUTWEIN - Obviously you have a data set of information that you are utilising. I don't have that available to me. We will review the Hansard and the comments you have made and I will seek some advice.

Ms O'CONNOR - In closing, can I ask if you are prepared, as Treasurer, to have a look at the royalty and licence fees that we charge wealthy corporations for taking our natural resources?

Mr GUTWEIN - They are also the licence fees that we charge Tasmanians as well, and not all of them are necessarily wealthy.

Ms O'CONNOR - One cent for 38 000 litres?

Mr GUTWEIN - Again, I will need to check the veracity of your information.

Ms O'CONNOR - I will bring you some information.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you, Premier, and thank you, Chair. We've listened a lot to the Minister for Resources, Mr Barnett, talk about water as liquid gold. We've countered that with water is life. It's pretty clear from the amount of revenue Tasmania will gain from water licensing fees that we effectively give away our precious water. It is a very small sum.

Does the line item under Water Licence Fees, Environment Fees, capture the licensing arrangements for the salmon farming industry? Or where might we find that line item?

Mr GUTWEIN - I would need to take advice. I don't know.

Ms O'CONNOR - Can we put as question on notice how much revenue did the state obtain from fish farming or finfish farming licences?

Mr GUTWEIN - Yes, I am happy to.