written for the
WATER, WATER GOES ELSEWHERE
The Tasmanian government by a simple act of parliament has simply seized every council’s water services. These include water catchments, water treatment, water reticulation, sewerage reticulation and sewerage treatment. These functions have been major responsibilities for Councils for time immortal.
I would have expected by now to have heard outraged cries from the public or an enlightened journalist for what could possibly be the biggest scam to affect every ratepayer in this state. Maybe the woes of the world, the downward spiraling of the economy, the so-called reputable companies suddenly going bankrupt and everyone’s super suddenly disappearing has numbed us into believing that our government’s actions are in our best interests.
Sleek presentations were made to parliament and on their
website to explain their actions. In essence
It has been stated that the purpose of these compulsory acquisitions is to improve the regulatory nature and infrastructure of the State’s water and sewerage facilities. Not a lot of detail has been given as to how these benefits are to be implemented. However an estimate has been made that over $1 billion will be required over the next decade for new water and sewerage infrastructure.
It has been stated that councils can expect returns from the start and that these will grow over the years as the infrastructure is improved.
These and other motherhood statements made in their reports
to parliament warrant an independent assessment. Everyone knows that
Thus the Corporations have already stated that they will need $2000 for every man, woman and child over the next 10 years just to meet future infrastructure requirements. Whilst there is no doubt such improvements would always be welcomed this extra income stream will ultimately be derived from ratepayers. The Corporate viewpoint is that rate increases as outlined are inevitable and justifiable.
Whilst Council employees will be transferred to the new
corporations this will not be the case for management. Generally speaking the
existing management in the Councils had a more multi faceted job. Those that
stay with Council will have their functionality severely reduced. Meanwhile the
Corporations believe many new positions will be being created in the new
structure. Engineering and management facilities will need to be created.
Servicing the state of
I live in the Break O’Day Municipality in which the larger
Finally we need to ask ourselves what will happen to our councils. Now that their functionality has been so reduced how will they survive? Is this a ruse by Government to reduce local government in this state? In creating the Corporations the government has removed these assets from the control of the ratepayers. It has furthermore done this without bearing any responsibility for the viability of the new structure. The Councils although poorly represented in the management of the new structure could be placed in a position of unlimited liability in the event of mismanagement on behalf of the corporation.
No matter what happens, the Corporations are saying we can expect hefty increases for these services. They believe that this is completely justified by simply comparing our existing service charges with those of the mainland. There are many good reasons why we enjoy cheaper water services than the mainland. Our Councils for one should be congratulated for being efficient. Instead a Corporate body takes over these resources with the boast that charges will go up.
With councils we get what we can afford. With a service provider we have no control. They are not an elected body.
In conclusion the Corporate deal has not been thought out. Its tabled reports truly indicate that if it proceeds Tasmanians will not benefit from this deal created by bureaucrats.