Political stoush brewing over solutions for the Tamar River and Launceston's combined system | Photos

TAMAR FOCUS: Treasurer Peter Gutwein with Launceston Chamber of Commerce President Tim Holder. Mr Holder said the talk of water quality improvement in the Tamar River was welcomed by business. Picture: Phillip Biggs

TAMAR FOCUS: Treasurer Peter Gutwein with Launceston Chamber of Commerce President Tim Holder. Mr Holder said the talk of water quality improvement in the Tamar River was welcomed by business. Picture: Phillip Biggs

Launceston's water and sewerage would be fixed “for good” under a Labor state government says Oppostion Leader Rebecca White.

“Peter Gutwein is only interested in picking fights, he has no plan to fund Launceston's deplorable infrastructure problems,” she said.

The comments come after the Treasurer hinted at a step forward for the combined sewerage and wastewater system.

Mr Gutwein said the health of the Tamar and accelerating TasWater’s 10-year, $1.5 billion capital works expenditure program, were vital to support tourism developments in the region.

“Nearly 670,000 visitors come through the North of Tasmania ... what is of critical importance is that we ensure that our water and sewerage service can meet that demand,” he said.

“We need to have world-class water and sewerage, not Third World water and sewerage and that’s one of the reasons we have taken the step to takeover TasWater.”

Mr Gutwein said Launceston had “boom times ahead in the coming years” and the broader water program had to also be accelerated.

“When you consider that we have seven times greater than the national average in respect to outflows to the environment from sewage breaks, it’s simply not good enough.” 

But Ms White said Labor’s policy would allow “TasWater to get on with the job” while dealing with the big projects separately.

She said federal Labor's $75 million pledge to improve the combined system was endorsed by the community when Bass MP Ross Hart was voted into office.

According to an independent reported commissioned by TasWater the cost of a full separation, which was deemed the most effective solution, is between $300 million and $570 million.

The budget for a partial separation, which was given an effectiveness score of 92 out of 100, was estimated at $200 million.

Constructing extra storage to reduce the frequency of spilling overflows was also floated as an option in the report.

The containment options ranged in price from $75 million to $160 million, with conveyance and consolidation costed at between $107 million and $217 million.

“It can be seen that whilst the full separation option potentially provides the greatest benefits, the capital cost of this solution is likely to be prohibitive. However, the partial separation option also provides signifcant benefit for a lower capital cost,” the report said.

“As the storage and conveyance and consolidation options provide a similar outcome, the storage at overflow solution is likely to be more feasible, due to the lower capital cost. Hence it would be worthwhile investigating these two options further.”

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