This coming Friday 24th February, the Treasurer and local councils will sit down to discus drinking water.
They should have, at the top of the very top of their agenda, a discussion of the options available to them to quickly cut the number of water alerts in our state.
So far, the lead up to the meeting has been more about politics than policy, but there is still time for all participants to focus on the most important issue here.
Tasmania desperately needs real outcomes from Friday’s meeting. We need more than the megaphone diplomacy that seems to be leading up to the meeting.
Access to an environment free from pollution should be a basic human right in Tasmania1.
This includes access to clean drinking water.
If people attending on Friday were to acknowledge this is a matter of basic human rights, it would help put the issue into proper perspective.
It is unfair that some residents in smaller towns have had to deal with dirty drinking water for years when it would never be accepted in our bigger cities.
Tasmania has been through a large amount of water policy reform since 2008 but improvements to drinking water quality seem to be too slow in taking effect.
It should be acknowledged that investment in water infrastructure is occurring and that gains are being made. However the pace of change is frustratingly slow.
It’s just not good enough that in Tasmanian today there are 21 current Boil Water alerts and four Do Not Consume alerts.
All eyes will be on Friday’s meeting watching and waiting for real outcomes.
1.as recommended in 2007 by the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute (recommendation 16): http://www.utas.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/283728/Human_Rights_A4_Final_10_Oct_2007_revised.pdf
*Richard Griggs is Tasmanian Director of Civil Liberties Australia and lead petitioner for a Tasmanian Human Rights Act: http://www.tashumanrightsact.org