The Premier, Paul Lennon, must show some leadership in developing Tasmania's water resource, not leave this in the hands of a Minister who has a history for doing nothing.
In State Parliament today, Mr Lennon handballed a question about the growing frustration of Tasmanian farmers in having on-farm dams approved, and the failure of his government's much-vaunted Water Development Plan generally.
Despite reforms designed to streamline the farm dam approval process earlier this year, the bureaucratic nightmare appears to have worsened. The Department of Primary Industry and Water's annual report shows that delays for approving farm dams blew out last financial year, and were not expected to improve in the year ahead.
Out of sheer frustration, a Ross farmer yesterday irrigation water illegally to highlight the obstructive and expensive process to get dams approved. The TFGA and other farmers are also angry about the process.
Leader of the State Opposition, Will Hodgman, has identified small and large scale water development as a key priority for Tasmania. The State Government unveiled a Water Development Plan to help drought-proof Tasmania in 2001, but this has turned out to be all talk and no action.
"Water development is critical to our State's future prosperity and the State Government shows time and time again that it cannot manage this properly, whether we are talking about a smaller on-farm dam to help drought-proof a farm, or a larger one to drought-proof many," Mr Hodgman said.
"It is unbelievable in light of the huge concerns in the farming community about the government hindering water development, and the extent to which the drought is biting, that the Premier would not have informed himself sufficiently of the issue to provide some explanation to the Parliament today.
"It shows a lack of leadership on water from the State Labor Government, yet again."