The Launceston Chamber of Commerce has welcomed funding allocations for sewerage works in Thursday's state budget as a chance to not only address an environmental issue but take up an "economic opportunity".
The budget papers show a $180 million contribution would be provided to TasWater over the next four years to go towards its infrastructure program, as well as major projects including improvements to the Launceston combined sewerage and storm water system.
This would bring the total invested into sewerage and water infrastructure by the state to $300 million over a 10 year period, with an initial contribution of $20 million made in January, they state.
Speaking on Friday to a room of 200 at a post-budget lunch event in Launceston, Treasurer Peter Gutwein said there was a significant amount of investment that would occur in the region to fix up "what really is the jewel in the crown of this city" - the Tamar.
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"TasWater in it's 10-year plan has a further $280 million costed into it to do the Launceston Integrated Sewerage Plan," Mr Gutwein said.
Neil Grose, executive officer of the Launceston Chamber of Commerce, said the funding provided a chance to maximise the potential of the Tamar.
In a reader survey, conducted by The Examiner last month, cleaning up the Tamar scored the highest weighted rank among a list of 14 priority projects across the region.
"For too long we've turned our back to it," Mr Grose said. "It's an environmental issue but it's an economic opportunity."
"Every other regional and capital city in Australia embraces their estuary and their river that's right in front of them.
"So if you think about the Barwon River in Geelong, or the Yarra River in Melbourne, or the Brisbane River in Brisbane, they are all estuaries which aren't what you would call pristine."
But those cities embrace them, Mr Grose said. "And they embrace them economically, as well as environmentally, as well as for the community."
"So we need to grab the opportunity the government will give us with that money for storm water and just see where that can take us."
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