Water and sewage reforms vital for Launceston City Deal: Property Council

REFORM NEEDED: Sewage at the City of Launceston Ti Tree Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant.
REFORM NEEDED: Sewage at the City of Launceston Ti Tree Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The Property Council of Australia says that for Launceston’s City Deal with the federal government to hit the mark, it must include water and sewerage reform, public transport infrastructure and the reactivation of the Newnham site and the Northern suburbs after the University of Tasmania moves to Inveresk.

“Our industry believes in City Deals. We have been calling for them for two years and we believe, if properly developed, they can be the source of jobs and further economic capacity,” said Property Council executive director Brian Wightman.

“For a City Deal to be a real deal it must engage all levels of government and it must engage with the community because it is a contract that lasts longer than the political cycle.”

Mr Wightman said the $137.5 million in federal funding for the UTAS relocation and the City Heart Project would lay the foundation for long term growth.

Bass Labor MHR Ross Hart said he wholeheartedly agreed with the Property Council’s framework to ensure the City Deal created lasting jobs in the region.

“I have spoken at least twice, if not three times in parliament about the importance of the Launceston Sewerage Improvement project … the sewerage in particular provided for an opportunity for a five to ten year at least infrastructure pipeline for Northern Tasmania,” he said.

Treasurer Peter Gutwein said water and sewage reform was a matter for local government.

“We will continue to work with Taswater and with local government because we know that the challenge of water and sewage in Launceston needs to be fixed, but let’s be clear, this is a local government owned problem,” he said.

But Tasmanian Liberal senator David Bushby said the responsibility for developing and implementing solutions to Launceston’s water and sewerage challenges falls across both local and state government, but “given the scale of the problems, it may be that the Australian Government could have a role to play in addressing them.”

He said there would be clear benefits if the consultation and development process led to the inclusion of these challenges in the Launceston City Deal.

“To some extent, this was acknowledged when, through the then Member for Bass, Andrew Nikolic, the Australian Government provided $500,000 for TasWater to study these challenges to identify the best and most effective solutions,”Senator Bushby said. “If the state and local governments demonstrated emphatically that some assistance by the Australian Government was required or the solutions could not be implemented, I would work towards securing that assistance.”