Data can indeed be hard to interpret, but it's also true that numbers don't lie and if you were looking at the budget papers with regard to the Tamar Estuary you could be forgiven for being slightly disappointed.
Despite attracting a total funding package across all three levels of government under the Launceston City Deal of $140 million, the 2022-23 Tasmanian Budget papers show in 2021 only $1 million of that budget was spent on the Tamar.
In that year, the state government estimated there was a $12.1 million budget available for Tamar Estuary clean-up projects but, in reality, it was only $1 million.
Granted the rest of that funding was rolled over into the next year, however, $1 million in a $140 million budget is small-fry.
The health of the Tamar Estuary has been a longstanding issue in Launceston and Northern Tasmania.
It has been on the community's agenda for decades and while it is positive that the Launceston City Deal put the health of the river back on the government's agenda, a common criticism is there hasn't been much to show for it.
Programs to assist the health of the river are complex, and they are often done away from the riverbanks. Upstream and on agricultural land, there has been a lot of education work done and literal fences built to keep stock out of waterways.
Every cow and sheep that is kept from standing in the water means fewer contaminants that can flow down the waterways and end up in the estuary.
However, that work is not easy to see, and the health of the estuary has also only marginally improved, according to the health report cards released by the Tamar Estuary and Esk River program, run by NRM North.
And the budget paints a stark picture of funding that has not yet been spent, despite the Launceston City Deal being signed in 2017 and delivered in 2018.
With projects expected to be delivered in the next two years, the biggest improvements will be seen in TasWater's capital works program, which is under way.
In the budget papers, there is still $100 million of the Tamar budget unaccounted for - and the community deserves transparency over how that is going to be spent.
The Tamar Estuary Management Taskforce has revealed its long-awaited sediment management report, which will now be amended to investigate the impact of a federal government pledge to restore wetlands in the area.
However, moving forward, it will be paramount to ensure that any funding decisions have the full social licence of the community.
A criticism of TEMT in the past is that it has not been transparent about its activities and has not engaged with the community enough to represent its views, particularly those who use the river, such as the rowing and yacht clubs.
The tricky part will be marrying up community expectations with environmental ones - however, if the federal election result has shown us anything, it's that climate change and the environment are important to the people and policymakers should be taking those issues seriously.
But people also expect a functional river that can be used without fear of getting stuck in the mud.
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