Letters to the editor: Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Neil White, of Riverside, questions whether Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein has failed to grasp what a TasWater debt in the billions could mean.
Neil White, of Riverside, questions whether Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein has failed to grasp what a TasWater debt in the billions could mean.

TasWater debt

THE state government came to office on the premise that the previous government had a very high debt level, and yet, after three years we now have a balanced budget. This is something most of us with a mortgage could only dream of. Now Treasurer and Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein wants to take over Taswater from the councils and spend $1.5 billion over 10 years to accelerate the works program. Mr Gutwein has failed to grasp what a debt of this size could mean.

If the state government is successful, councils would continue to receive a revenue stream for seven years, after that it's anybody's guess as to whether it would continue. You can be sure that councils would have to increase  rates to cover the shortfall if it does not. So any promises that we are going to be better off would be more of an illusion than real. 

Neil White, Riverside.

Blueberry Rust

I WRITE in support of the recent call for an inquiry into the handing of the recent blueberry rust outbreak in the state. The government’s response to this outbreak has been underwhelming and potentially exposed other growers in the industry to additional costs and loss of market access.

Why hasn’t the state government moved to eradicate the rust and why haven’t the owners of the first property that rust was detected on voluntarily instigated an eradication program? Surely, the threat posed to the rest of the industry in Tasmania warrants that level of response? In 2014, the government successfully eradicated an outbreak of rust, why has government policy changed? Don’t they value or appreciate the disease free status that the state enjoyed prior to this outbreak and the ease of market access that the status gave growers?

The policy of containment does not appear to be working, with rust identified on 2 other properties within six months. With rust being restricted to just three properties at this stage, surely it is not too late to instigate an eradication program. One infected property last August, three by the end of March 2017 – how many by this time next year? The state’s disease-free status for blueberry exports has already been suspended. I believe it is time to act now.

George Pitt, Launceston.

Are councils needed?

IN HIS letter (July 28), Len Langan questions the need for a third tier of government, namely local government to satisfy our needs. The answer is a definite no. I would point out the present situation with the Huon Valley and Glenorchy City councils, where the elected councillors have been dismissed and yet local garbage is still being collected and potholes are being filled in a most efficient matter.

The Glenorchy councillors were suspended in February and yet the 45,000 residents are still experiencing satisfactory service from that council. With 16,000 residents, the Huon Valley Council has operated successfully since their councillors were dismissed. These two municipalities have well and truly demonstrated that a bunch of people around a council table, can be one big disadvantage to us all.

Bill Chugg, Campbell Town.

Refugees

WHEN will our government show the slightest bit of decency and humanity, and bring the remaining refugees on Manus and Nauru here to Australia? Not while Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton is around, certainly, but it is a disgrace. Men, women and children have been imprisoned and traumatised, and the remaining ones are now to be abandoned with no place of safety to go to. When did Australians become so cruel? When did we give up on the idea of a fair go?   These people have done nothing wrong, and our treatment of them will remain a permanent stain on our history.  

Anne Brelsford, Legana.