We are incredibly fortunate to have such fertile land. Our rich agriculture, the backbone of Tasmania, is fed from the streams and rivers that flow from lake storages in our highlands. However, in today’s world, the climate can no longer be depended on; water is no longer something to be taken for granted. The State Government has indicated through a number of surveys that they should be taking over the management of water and sewage from Local Government. Not only will this grant the State Government power of all water storage and distribution throughout Tasmania, it will allow them to capitalize on over 30 million dollars per year that is currently paid to Local Governments in water rates. This will leave Local Governments depleted of a proportional amount of yearly capital and may even strip them of valuable assets. Such a dramatic loss in revenue would ultimately force further amalgamations and significant rate rises, hitting rate payers twice as hard in the need to feed both State and Local Governments. Some Local Governments may be willing to sacrifice income and assets in what may be seen as a vested move for the greater good. Amalgamating Tasmania’s water and sewage into one single authority may lighten the load on Local Government but will it be the straw that breaks our back? Tasmanians are already fully aware of the substandard condition our State run hospitals and schools are being left in, how can we be confident that the State Government is in any better position to fund or manage future water operations of Tasmania? Can we trust the State Government with our water? We must not forget this Government won office on the promise they would not sell the Hydro and now a few years down the track, they have leased the Hydro and all our storage dams to the Bass Link consortium for 25 years for the paltry sum of 40 million. With the pulp mill on the horizon and plans to sell off Aurora and Transcend, it is clear that the Lennon Government is better friends with big business than ever. This State Government has a tendency to privatize, especially when faced with debt. Yet, even in the name of debt consolidation, can we risk handing over our water rights to a Government that may simply sell them off? By far the safest path would be to leave Local Government in charge of our water and allow them to give approvals for new water storage and treatment plants within each municipality. All reasonable environmental issues can effectively be covered by Local Government. Keeping these processes localized will keep administration costs down and prevent community water issues being put on the backburner. It is only fair to allow each municipality to develop their infrastructure by natural demand from its citizens. Giving the State Government control of our water will create the opportunity for a bias approach towards our communities, depending on political motivation in each electorate; the State Government could favor one district over another. Or worse, they may leave all Tasmanian’s subject to water restrictions while big business is permanently quenched at discounted rates. The fresh water pipe feeding Hobart’s water supply is only one-metre in diameter, yet the proposed pulp mill will be equipped with a two-metre diameter pipe to dilute toxins washing into Bass Strait. This constant supply of water that will flush through the pulp mill could be heavily discounted if the State Government gains ultimate water control. Allowing the State government take over would mean a new management group with vehicles, offices and glossy printing, not to mention the massive advertising budget to tell us all how well they are doing…or going to do, the job. The cost of an administration double-up is money down the drain. As the world heats up, and water disappears from this vast continent we live on, we should not be backward in our thinking. Instead of penny-pinching from Local Governments, our State leaders should be engineering major dams, water pipes and infrastructure to prepare Tasmania for the future. Let’s nurture our water supply and see our best asset flow fairly for all Tasmanians.