A historic agreement has been reached between the State Government, the Local Government Owners Chief representative and TasWater to improve water and sewerage services in Tasmania.
An MoU will pave the way for a package of water and sewerage reforms that will be presented to council owners and, if supported by councils, tabled in parliament.
Tasmanians will benefit from a partnership that will see a reduction in forecast price increases, accelerated infrastructure upgrades and a joint focus on major projects such as Macquarie Point, the Launceston combined system and MONA.
The government and TasWater will also work together on trade waste and expanding water and sewerage services to parts of the state that aren’t currently covered by TasWater’s network.
Under the agreement, the government will inject $20 million per year for the next ten years into TasWater and in return will become a shareholder of TasWater.
Local government will retain majority ownership of TasWater and new governance arrangements will ensure that State and Local Government will work together with TasWater’s board to deliver the capital program.
Tasmanian Treasurer, Peter Gutwein, said it was pleasing to see all parties coming together with a clear focus on what is in the best interests of Tasmania.
“This package of reforms, if endorsed by Local Government owners and supported by Parliament, will allow the State Government to fulfil its commitments regarding prices and infrastructure investment.”
Chief Owners Representative and Mayor of the Northern Midlands Council, David Downie said the agreement would allow TasWater to build on the excellent work done to date and councils will be able to maintain a focus on local economic issues while continuing to have a major say on the direction of TasWater.
The dividends to Local Government owners will be guaranteed and the State Government will not receive a dividend.
President LGAT and Mayor of Clarence City Council, Doug Chipman, said it was extremely pleasing to see all levels of government come together in partnership on such an important matter for Tasmanians.
The Chairman of TasWater, Miles Hampton, said the Board was pleased that the State Government and Owner Councils had reached agreement to move forward in a cooperative and collaborative manner.
“The reform of the water and sewerage sector is arguably the single most important economic reform that has been undertaken in Tasmania for many decades and we can now focus our entire effort on ensuring the benefits expected from the reform are realised,” Mr Hampton said.