LGAT minutes from closed meeting on TasWater released

TasWater's Margaret St facility in Launceston.
TasWater's Margaret St facility in Launceston.

Concerns have been raised about the potential for increased pressure to force councils to amalgamate if the state government proceeds with its proposal to take over TasWater.

The Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) held a closed meeting in Launceston last week to discuss the state government’s proposal.

The minutes from the closed meeting have been released to reveal the concerns representatives of TasWater’s owner councils had with the state government’s proposed takeover of the entity.

The minutes state the councils were concerned the takeover would present ‘likely increased pressure’ from the state government for forced amalgamations.

A motion for the councils to oppose the state government’s proposed takeover of TasWater and launch a campaign against the proposal was passed at the meeting.

Central Highlands, Derwent Valley, Dorset and Sorell voted against the motion while George Town and Launceston abstained.

Other concerns raised at the meeting include:

  • the likely loss of future revenue with no return on investments
  • reduced influence, scrutiny and transparency of TasWater
  • reduced advocacy by local owners for service provision
  • prices capped only in the short term

The meeting heard a special presentation from TasWater chief executive Miles Hampton, who outlined the organisation’s position on the proposed takeover.

“LGAT has been analysing all data received as it is received and initially, on face value, ignoring the poor process and intense posturing by the state government it seemed there might be some value in the change of ownership proposition,” the minutes read.

However, the Treasurer’s presentation at the last general meeting outlined mechanisms for achieving their seven-year delivery that would appear to be able to be delivered without changing the ownership.”

LGAT will hold its next meeting in July.