Urban Water and Sewerage Sector
Urban Water Policy Unit
Draft Tasmanian Water and Sewerage Service Introduction Policy
Urban Stormwater Legislation in Tasmania
The Water and Sewerage Industry Act and the Water and Sewerage Corporations Act (available on the Tasmanian Legislation website www.thelaw.tas.gov.au) were passed by the Tasmanian Parliament in 2008.
This legislation has removed the responsibility for water and sewerage provision from local Councils and divested it in three new regionally based Corporations. A fourth common services entity was created to service these regional Corporations. The Corporations began operation on 1 July 2009 and will be independently run, but owned by local Councils.
As well as the new organisational structure, the legislation has installed a new regulatory regime, with the creation of the Office of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator. From 2012, the Economic Regulator will be responsible for price and service regulation in the sector, ensuring Tasmanians pay a regulated price for sustainable water and sewerage services which meet appropriate industry standards. In the interim, the Treasurer is responsible for setting prices and service standards.
The Water and Sewerage Industry Act 2008 also creates a role for the Tasmanian Ombudsman, to investigate customer complaints about the new Corporations and to promote fairness, openness and good public administration in the sector.
Under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994, the Director of the Environment Protection Authority is responsible for environmental regulation. The Director of Public Health is responsible for the protection of public health under the Public Health Act 1997. Although Environmental and Public Health regulation of drinking water and sewerage services remains largely the same, the Economic Regulator will ensure that the capacity of the Corporations to raise revenue will be linked to attaining regulatory compliance and minimum service standards.
These reforms have been designed to achieve major long-term improvements in Tasmania’s water and sewerage services and infrastructure, through a collaborative approach with local Government.
For more information on the Regulators and their roles in the sector, please see the relevant links below:
Office of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator: www.economicregulator.tas.gov.au
Environment Protection Authority: www.epa.tas.gov.au
Public Health: www.dhhs.tas.gov.au
The Water and Sewerage Industry Act 2008 requires that people who provide an urban water and/or sewerage service should be licensed under the Act. It provides for a licensing framework and broadly defines who and what should be licensed.
The Act gives the Tasmanian Economic Regulator the power to grant licenses. These licenses can be viewed at the Regulator's website (see link above).
The Water and Sewerage Industry Act also gives the Minister the power to refine the coverage of the licensing framework to ensure that it covers only those activities and people that should be licensed.
Further information on this aspect of the licensing framework is available here: Urban Water and Sewerage Licensing Framework
The Minister for Primary Industries and Water is responsible for administering the Water and Sewerage Industry Act 2008. The Minister is further responsible under this Act for developing and coordinating policies related to the regulation of the water and sewerage industry.
The Urban Water Policy Unit has been created within the Department to assist the Minister in carrying out these functions under the legislation.
Contact: Urban Water EnquiriesUrban Water Enquiries
GPO Box 44
Hobart TAS 7001
Phone: (03) 6233 3849
The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment has developed a draft Service Introduction Policy to guide Tasmania’s water and sewerage corporations and the Tasmanian community regarding the circumstances in which a feasibility analysis will be undertaken to assess the merits of introducing regulated water and sewerage services to areas which do not currently receive services.
This is a Portable Document Format (PDF) file and requires the use of Adobe Acrobat Reader. The Reader is easy to download and is free of charge.
Prior to the reform and restructuring of the water and sewerage sector, which took effect in mid - 2009, the Sewers and Drains Act 1954 imposed a duty on local councils to provide sewerage and stormwater drainage services in urban areas. The Act also provided local councils with the powers they needed to ensure they could discharge that duty.
The sewer related provisions of the Sewers and Drains Act were transferred to the Water and Sewerage Industry Act 2008, effective on 1 July 2009, and the Sewers and Drains Act was renamed the Drains Act 1954.
The Drains Act is now nearly 60 years old and, despite various (mainly consequential) amendments over time, it had not been subjected to a comprehensive review in recent times. A number of the provisions which the Act currently contains are considered by a number of parties – including local government – to be outdated and in need of review, both in terms of the performance of the Act’s intended function and its language.
Consequently, a review of the Drains Act was undertaken by the Urban Water Policy Unit during 2010. A key objective of the review was to ensure that Tasmania has a contemporary legislative framework in place to provide for the management of stormwater in urban areas.
View the Issues Paper, submissions to the review and the Summary-Response Paper.
The main outcome of the review of the Drains Act was that it should be replaced by modern and fit-for-purpose stormwater management legislation that assists local councils to effectively and efficiently manage urban stormwater.
The Urban Water Policy Unit developed draft legislation, the Urban Drainage Bill 2013, to replace the Drains Act. As part of the development process for the draft Bill the Urban Water Policy Unit sought input from interested parties, including local councils and the regional water and sewerage corporations, on the draft legislation.
To finalise the draft legislation the Urban Water Policy Unit has prepared a draft of the Urban Drainage Bill for full public consultation. Public input on the draft Bill will assist in finalising the legislation prior to it being presented to Parliament.
View the draft Urban Drainage Bill and public submissions received
The Urban Water Policy Unit has developed a series of profiles of the water and sewerage infrastructure and services available in each Local Government Area (LGA).
The purpose of the profiles is to provide an overview of the extent and quality of water and sewerage services provided for each LGA as at October 2009.
The LGA Water and Sewerage Profiles are available via the STORS website.
If you have a complaint about your water and sewerage service that you have been unable to resolve with the water and sewerage Corporation servicing your area, please contact the Tasmanian Ombudsman:
Office of the Ombudsman
GPO Box 960
Hobart TAS 7001
Phone: 1300 766 725
Fax: 03 6233 8966
For further information about the Ombudsman and his/her role, please visit the website: www.ombudsman.tas.gov.au
For access to the Water and Sewerage Industry Act 2008, the Water and Sewerage Corporations Act 2008 or any other Tasmanian legislation, please go to: www.thelaw.tas.gov.au
For further information on the water and sewerage Corporations please go to the following website: www.mywatertas.com.au
For information on interim pricing arrangements in the sector please go to the Department of Treasury and Finance’s website: www.treasury.tas.gov.au
For further information on national water reform, please see the following websites:
Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts: www.environment.gov.au
National Water Commission: www.nwc.gov.au