TasWater takeover bill to be brought on for debate

The future of Tasmania’s water and sewerage infrastructure will be brought on for debate in State Parliament this week, as the government prepares to introduce its TasWater takeover legislation.

TasWater is the state’s water and sewerage provider, jointly owned by Tasmania’s 29 councils.

The government argues that if it was to wrest ownership of the company from councils, it would be able to deliver upgrades to Tasmania’s ageing water and sewerage infrastructure faster than if councils were to retain ownership.

Premier Will Hodgman said he was “looking forward” to the debate.

“Our objective is to provide Tasmanians in communities right across the state with the best quality water and sewerage services possible, to bring forward infrastructure investments that even TasWater themselves, and their council owners, have said can be done,” Mr Hodgman said.

“Our question is why can’t it and why shouldn’t it be done.

“This is about standing up for Tasmanians and what’s in the best interest for Tasmanian consumers right across the state.”

Mr Hodgman also said a TasWater takeover would deliver cheaper bills to Tasmanians.

Deputy Opposition Leader Michelle O’Byrne said that, other than the water and sewerage legislation, Labor was not aware what the government had planned for the coming week.

“In government, sometimes when you take a piece of legislation to the house you can genuinely find something that could have been crafted better,” Ms O’Byrne said.

“It’s not unusual for previous governments of different colours to say, ‘We’ll pull the legislation, resolve that issue and bring the bill back in a better form.’

“This government refuses to do that.”

Ms O’Byrne believed that the government had a habit of sending under-cooked legislation to the upper house, which, she said, meant the upper house was forced to do the job of the lower house.

Franklin Greens MHA Rosalie Woodruff, meanwhile, said her party would continue to put pressure on Child Protection Minister Jacquie Petrusma over claims she misled Parliament in relation to for-profit child protection provider Safe Pathways.

Dr Woodruff said the Greens would also be asking questions about the government’s vision for the state’s salmon industry, outlined last week.