Northern Midlands Council take on TasWater

The Northern Midlands Council is standing strong against a state government TasWater takeover. 

Mayor David Downie said he feared the changeover could lead to rate rises. 

“With GBEs (government business enterprises) I’d argue that communities have very little hope of influencing GBEs, they’re not as accountable to the communities of Tasmania as the present structure of TasWater is,” he said.

“Under TasWater ownership, those distributions will flow through every council. The money will be spent evenly throughout Tasmania if the Tasmania government take over TasWater they can decide where that money will get spent.” Cr Downie said. 

He fears the money will be spent in certain areas, mean others will miss out. 

“I would argue that the councils have a closer connection to the community throughout Tasmania and indeed throughout the Northern Midlands. If people have a problem they can go to the council and through the reps those problems can be heard,” he said. 

The council voted against the takeover at their monthly meeting. Cr Downie said the council’s decision was subject to conditions, which hadn’t been met. 

Cr Downie said the council’s request for further details was yet to be answered. 

“We’ve asked for figures. The state government have said there will be a $550 saving but we can’t work out where those savings are. They cant be identified,” Cr Downie said. 

“We haven’t seen any plans or proof from the government that they can do it cheaper and that they can do it any quicker.

“It’s being talked up and the TasWater assets need fixing. The first thing is that that has been identified. It has been identified that there is a problem and TasWater is the one that have brought out that problem and they’re the ones that have a solution to fix it.”

Cr Downie said all boil water alerts will be done by August 2018. 

“That’s actually going to be resolved before the government get their hands on the assets,” he said. 

The Local Government Association of Tasmania will hold a meeting on May 11 to discuss the councils’ response to the issue.