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Stateline (NSW) -

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(generated from captions) Thanks. Tonight's top

stories again - the family of a

Sydney publican killed in a bar

room brawl have confronted the State's Attorney-General.

They're angry that the killers

have been sentenced to no more

than three years jail. John

Howard and Kevin Rudd are cam

pieng the drought, with both

leaders promising more help for

farming communities. And the

former Federal late Minister

Bob Collins has died. He was

61. And that is ABC News for

this Friday. Stateline with

Geordan Dempsey is up next. For

- Quentin Demp ter is up next.


Closed Captions by CSI


This week - the debate over

desalination, face to face the

Water Utilities Minister Nathan

Rees and the Opposition Leader

Barry O'Farrell. And seatbelts

in country buses - if Prime Minister intervenes to force

the State to buckle up. It's

obvious from what Mr Campbell

said today it's all about money

and not about safety.

Welcome to Stateline NSW. I'm Quentin Dempster. With the

drought and expected crop fail nuclear the Murray-Darling

Basin, fruit and vegetable

prices are expected to rise

sharply soon. With the carbon

twraiding scheme coming, no

matter who wins the Federal election, electricity prices

are also expected to rise

significantly. From June next

year, water prices for

consumers in Greater Sydney,

the blue blue, Wollongong and

the Illawarra covering about

4.5 million people could rise

by 30% and more if you are a

big water user. Equipped with

the State election mandate to

build a 1.8 billion dollar

desal ination plant at Kurnell,

the Iemma Government is now

preparing the bill for the

consumers. Even if the desal

plant is not needed to

supplement drinking water,

under the terms of the public

private partnership, consumers

will pay to have it operational

ready. A submission to ip yartd, the Independent Pricing

and Regulatory Tribunal, this

week revealed the fine print

for the first time. Shortly a

studio debate. First, the big

water bill coming to a

letterbox near you. At the

moment, the average household

water bill is around $800 a

year. To keep Sydney Water

solvent and pay for the

desalination plant, which is to

be expensively powered

berenewable energy , and the

big re cycling diseem s, Sydney

Water's asking IPART to approve

a price rise per household of

$275 over four years. For a

typical household, that's going

to mean a $275 increase in real

prices over four years. And

what it's made up of sh and

what it's covering is about

$100 for the desalination

plant, about $30 to $35 for re

cycling, $80 to $85 for our re

newals and capital projects,

Sydney Water is spending about

$550 to $600 million on capital

just in a business as usual

sense that we need funding. And

about $50 to $55 just to keep

us solvent. And all together

that adds to $275. This breaks

down to 12.4% increase in

2008-09. 12.2% in 2000ed-10.

This is on top of CPI. Remember

that - on top of CPI. So it's a

big slug. IPART says it weks

public submission. Its fienldzings will be released

next March. Approved price

rises will apply from next

June. The Iemma Government's

new water price regime, we will

call it Eau De Iemma, came

about as a result of the

election. Let's give a clear

choice to the people of NSW. If

you want that expensive,

greenhouse gas emitting

desalination plant, votedem

yex. If you don't, vote

us. The point of difference on

re cycling is this, the

Government will force industry

to use it but Mr Debnam will

force the residents of Western

Sydney to drink recycled sewer

age. That's the point of

difference on re cycling. As

far as the desalination plant is concerned, I've had the

courage and the honesty to make

the hard decision, regardless

of the political

consequences. Labor won the

election with a reduced

majority. But Mr Iemma could

claim a mandate on desal. This

week, defending the expected

water price rises, he pressed

the point. We just had an

election, my Government was e

lectsd. And this is part of

what we said we would do prior

to the election and indeed the

two members in the area

affected in the Sutherland

shire were returned. The

Government has a mandate for

this project. And we're getting

on with delivering the project

as our mandate dictates. The

people gave us a mandate to

secure Sydney's water supply

into the future, to secure

Sydney's future, to drought

proof Sydney and this's what

we're doing. Yes, the

Government does have a mandate,

but Stateline doesn't recall

the public being told that the

desal option would cost an

extra $100 per household per

year CPI adjusted forever

more. Now comes the bill for

consumers. It's worth noting

that Dr Kerry Schott, chief

executive of Sydney Water, made

this price comparison between

the cost of catchment water and

desalinated water. If the desal

plant is not operating, the

cost of having it available and

just being there is about

$million per year. And that's

to just have the plant

available, not producing any

water. The minute it's

producing water, if it's going

at full peltd, it's $55

million, and the cost of water

from the desal plant work s out

at about 66 cents a kilo litre,

and that compares to what I'm

currently paying the Catchment

Authority, which is 56 cents a

kilo litre. So it's a little

bit more exg pensive but it's

noted that tha bad. So desal

water is slightly more

expensive than catchment water. The desalination plant to be

built and operated by the Blue

Water Consortium, John Holland

Construction and the Australian

subsidiary of the French group

Veolia Eau should be operation

al by December 2000 t. Although

there's grow ing concern about

the plan's depasity to pollute

coast al waters an degrade the

marine environment, securing

the drinking supply has become

the overriding political

priority. With me now are

Nathan Rees, the Minister for

Water Utilities, and Barry

O'Farrell, the Leader of the Opposition. Welcome. Minister,

I take it you support Sydney

Water's price rise submission

to IPART as fully

justified? Whoo we do know is

that we need more infrastructure to deliver more

water for the people of Sydney.

Unlike rainfall, that

infrastructure needs to be paid

for. And that's why we need to

put water prices up. This is

painful but the Government's

got a mandate. I don't accept

they have a mandate. I don't

believe people went to that

poll as a referenda on the

desal plant and I don't believe people across Sydney believe

they were voting for 33%

increases in water rates plus

CPI. Haven't you deceived the

public? You must have known

these costings before you

clearly established the Cabinet

decision on a desal plant. The

Government had an idea of the

costings and we said that to

the people in advance of the le

blings ls. We said the average

water bill may increase up to

$2.50 because of the desal

plant. We've seen a submission

this week that seeks a price

rise of $100 for the

desalination and $for the

construction of it and the

operating cost. On February 6,

from memory, we said. That and

this's what we've

done. O'Farrell Barry

O'Farrell, where does this

leave you? The Federal

Government said every city

needs a desalination. It's

clearly going to be the more

than $2.50. Peter Costello is

displaying a very Melbourne

view of the work where they do

flee time s much more re

cycling than we do in Sydney.

We are determined to do more. I understand what Peter Costello

is saying but he's saying so in

a city that does 12% of re

cycling compared to our 3%. In

Adelaide they do 21%. Briefly

recount the arguments we've

seen development The water

security arrangement arguments

are substantial. We know from

advice from the CSIRO that our

droughts are going to be more

frequent and more severe. We

know we will have more hot days

and in Sydney and NSW we will

have less rain. Against that

backdrop swre, the three

largest re cycling schemes in

Australia at Rouse Hill at Blue

scope Steele in the Illawarra

and for the Western Sydney

recycled nish thaif is a $250 million investment. Sphurt

White one of the academics that

Mr O'Farrell is familiar, with

said as recently as this week

that NSW leads the nation on re

cycling. Just to pick up Mr

O'Farrell's points on re

cycling, Melbourne may recycle

nomly more water but it's a

matter to what level you treat

it and they don't treat to it

the same level as we. Do we

lead Australia in re cycling

and by 2015 we will have

increased re cycling. And

that's in addition from water

from the desalination plant.

The challenge for many pl

O'Farrell is to put a number

around his a rertion sertions

to increased re cycling . The

challenge is to Mr Reece - Rees

that they've bought online.

Blue scope Steele was a private

sector involvement. This is a

State Government that only has

latterly got into the job of re

cycling. I thought it was

pushing desalination to provide

it with a device in the

election campaign to pretend it

had a water policy. What it's

clear is it's simply an attempt

to ratchet up water prices on the back of a State Government

that has ripped off hundred of

payments in dividends payments.

So what ex tent will the

consumers - will State Treasury

continue to take a dividend

from the turnover of

swaerts? There is the likelihood that Sydney Water

will continue to pay a

dividends to the Government.

Sydney Water returns are not non-commercial. They're around

2.7% on its total asset set

base. So a cost plus operation. This's right. It

goes straight into consolidate

ed revenue to pay for teacher,

nurses an b vrntion, don't

Organisation. It's gone into

the bottom line to prop up poor

financial management of the

State. Last year $193 million

up 6 o% on the previous year

and in 1997, Sydney Water had a

dead equity ratio of 14%. It's

currently over 40% because

Sydney Water has had to woro

money to get on to do the job

they're doing because this

Government rips money out. The Minister talks about

non-commercial rates of return.

The people who will pay the 33%

increase in water rates the

small business operators will

pay up to 46% increase and need

townsis they will continue to

take money from Sydney Water to

prop up their poor financial

management of the State and

allow Sydney water customer,

private and commercial, to foot

the bill. Sydney Water is

boroughing heavily at the

insistence of State treasurery.

That adds to the costs that we

consumers have to pay. Well,

inevitably when there is a big

infrastructure spend we need to

pay for it. This is the biggest

piece of water infrastructure

we've constructed against war

gam baa dam in the '50s. And it

needs to be paid for and that's

on the basis that we will all

pay a lilt more in our water

bills. I've outlined the

Government's plan for

increasing water supply by 25%

for Sydney. Mr O'Farrell refuse

s to put a figure to his plan,

if indeed there is one. There's

another million people comes

into Sydney over the next 25

years. It's incumbent on you to

outline a figure to handle that

increase. You need to collect

the water rain that falls on

Sydney and flows out to the

sea. This year we've had record

rain, 3% of that rain has been

caught for use. So here is a

Minister wants an insurance

policy describes the

desalination plant as an

insurance policy. A better

insurance policy is to capture

the rain that falls out of the

sky. Even during the drought we

had days in Sydney that were

wet and on those days People's

Alcohol Action Coalition were

furious because that water was

wasted: This Government has

refused to recycle in storm

water harvesting and we lose

10% of water supply through

week leaks. The first

proposition that we should save

rain water as it falls, there

are very significant practical

barriers to it . If we were to

save only 20% of the average

rain event in Sydney we need

150 reservoirs, we need to

treat the water because it's

been in contact with pet row

chemicals, Feizies fertilisers

to a much higher standard than

we need to treat ef fluent and

to do that, it's in excess of

$6 million. That's plucked

from the air. You might think

that but we have to run a

Government and a budget. On

this one the numbers stack u.

We were total ly transparent on

this from the outset. We

concede that the desalination

plant might not be popular all

over the place. But what we do

know is that it's an example of

leadership on this issue. And

if we don't plan now for the

future we are simply deferring

the decision for another day

and making it someone else's

problem. Mr O'Farrell has a

she'll be right policy which is

no policy at all. You run an

agency like Sydney Water into

is the grounds by increasing

its prices and it still has a

10% leak policy and you

continue to fail to address the

real issue. Sydney Water does

have a debt of over $3

billion. Run before all this

major infrastructure is being

built. This Minister promising

much but delivers little. Like

other utilities owned by the

Government, Treasury has im

pose on them a dent requirement

from which it drous a

dividend. It is nothing unusual

for a large organisation,

particularly the size of Sydney

Water, to be boroughing to fund

infrastructure. You say it's

not commercial - What I said is

the rate of return in the form

of dividends is not a

commercial return to the

Government. It's not. If we

wanted to put the value of the

assets in a long-term bond

market we would get in the

order of $800 million a year,

and we don't. Why don't you

flog it to Macquarie Bank? With

rethe provider of last resort

for water and that will stay.

It means that electricity is

being about privatised. Here

San issue for the Minister -

the Minister and Dr Schott talk

about a 55 million dollar

operational cost when it's

fully operational. What they

don't say is almost half of

that amount will be the cost of

the electricity used by the

plant. Quentin, the cost will

be more than $26 million

because of volatile ity in

electricity prices. That's

acknowledged in a foot note in

the Sydney Water submission.

The idea it will only cost $55

million is a nonsense but it's

the sort of Labor spin we've

seen over the last few

years. With respect, that's

rubbish. We have said that this

will not produce a single kilo

of CO2. Whether it suits you

or not. U ore missing the point

if your submission which says

due to vol ity ity in

electricity prices, the $26

million it will need to run to

pay for the electricity will be

higher. There will be

volatility in electricity

prices. Thank you. That's my

point. It will be more than

that. You've been here for 10

minutes now and you still

haven't given us an increase

for it. And you can't tell

us. This's on the public record. Nathan Rees, O'Farrell

FARC, thanks very much. Prime Minister John Howard weighed

into what is normally a state efair this week, something

which has recent ly become a

bit of a Federal Government habit. It was over whether or

not school buss in regional and rural areas should be fitted

out with seatbelts. It's a

question which provokes fierce

debate. Proponents say

seatbelts safe lives but the

NSW Government says the

evidence doesn't support that.

This week the Commonwealth

Government made a $40 million

offer to private bus operate

ors around the country to fit

their school buss with belts.

The offer came less than a

fortnight after a school bus

accident near Coffs Harbour

claimed the life of a

17-year-old girl. Sharon

O'Neill reports. Two weeks ago,

Whitney Welsh died when her

school bus collided with a

station wagon on a narrow,

dangerous road south of Coffs

Harbour. The plus has rolled

down an ex-bankment. At this

stage we have the driver of both vehicles and seven children have been taken to

hospital. Whitney Welsh was

thrown from her seat following

the collision. He suffered

serious internal injuries and

died shortly after being air

lifted to Sydney's Saint George

Hospital. It filtered through

fairly quickly that a young

life had been lost and when you

read about this young lass you

look at her potential that's

been snuffed out because of

this bus accident. The death of

Whitney Welsh renewed demands

for the NSW Government to

install seatbelts in school

buss in country areas. Do you

think that had there been

seatbelts in that bus we would

have had a different

outcome? Look, I think the

coroner has to answer that. But

the circumstances that I know

of the accident to this stage I

think that she may not have

died. I don't know. But if you

have a seatbelt normally you

don't get thrown from a

vehicle. How are you? This

week, the Prime Minister

announced the Commonwealth

Government will provide $40

million over the next four

years to put seatbelt s in

school buses in rural and

regional areas. Bus operators

will be offered subsidies of up

to 25,000 per bus. The

Government says - 375 school

buss in non-metropolitan areas

will see seatbelts installed

over the next 12 months. We are

particularly targeting bus

services in country and

regional areas of the nation

because for reasons everybody

will understand buses in these

parts of Australia travel

longer distances and at faster

speeds, and therefore the

potential for accidents is greater. The Prime Minister's

effectively offering $10

million per annum across

Australia and all of the school

buss in NSW were to be fitted

in seatbelts it would cost $2

billion. I so it's a very minor

amount of money with no science

behinds it. It just seems to be

an election pork-barrel. In

contrast troos the Commonwealth's approach, the

NSW Government has so far

refused to fund the

installation of seatbelts in

regional and rural school


After serious and horrific

bus accidents involving school

children in Queensland, WA and

SA, seatbelts were introduced

in some areas in those States.

But the NSW Government argues

there's no evidence to show

that spending a huge sum of

money on seatbelts will make

bus travel significantly safer

for school children. I think

when you look at the fact that

over the last 11 years there's

been in the order of six deaths

on a school bus, six too money,

one of those on evidence

available may have been pre

prevented if that student was

wearing a seatbelt. When you

consider that there have been

34, I think, children die as

they walked to school or were

taken by a private motor

vehicle, I think it show s that

you need to use the evidence

around the route and the

circumstances rather than the

simplistic knee jerk reaction we see from the Prime

Minister. In October 2004, the State Government received the

final report from the NSW School Bus Safety Working

Group, which stated that:

The NSW Department of

Transport then began a detailed

survey of school bus routes

around the State to determine what other measures needed to

be implemented to improve bus

travel safety for students.

We've got three zones, if you

like, those that have very

adders in environments - steep,

windy, difficult roads, and we

have rural and country bus

route s, school bus routes and

then the urban bus routes. So

working through the issues,

obviously the priority are the

difficult environments and

there's a detailed proposal due

to Government within the next

couple of months as how to get

stuck into that. And that may

mean reengineering some of the

vehicles, doing some roadworks

in some location. In some

instances it may mean fitting seatbelts. U but Shadow Roads

Minister Andrew Fraser says

that's too little too late. Joe

Tripodi was another one that

attend add meeting in November 2005 when the guidelines were

sent. And this Government has

not acted on it. To say another

two months when we've had

accidents, we've now tragically

had a death on the north coast,

and they are looking at it for

another two months to prepare a

response. That's damable. Andrew Fraser who

captured the spot light two

years ago who attacked the then

Roads Minister Joe Tripodi on

the floor of State Parliament is well known for his passion

on road safety. His electorate

of Coffs Harbour includes the

notoriously disbent prone

Pacific Highway. As well as the

dangerous stretch of road that

Whitney Welsh travelled on just

two weeks ago. This is tragic.

It's affected the whole

community and I think Mr

Campbell comes from a regional

area himself ought to ince the

need for this and ought to

understand the dangers that

these children are faced with,

day in, day out, on dangerous

country roads, be they the

highwaystor winding back roads

where in bad weather and bad

condition s a simple accident

can turn to tragedy. Any

accident of this nature is

tragic, is distressing and

causes concern to government, members of government or

pain and the hurt for an individuals. And they see the

individual family. But we need

to move through this on an

evidence-based approach using

the science that is available,

available rather than just the engineering that is

having a knee jerk reaction as

we've seen from the Prime

Minister. I can't be emphatic

enough to say this is a

Government that is not doing

its job. It's not looking at

what it wants to do. And it's

obviously from what Mr Campbell

said today, it's all about

money and not about safety.

Now our fairly regular whip

around the regions, Sharon

O'Neill reports. There's nothing like the

location of a large regional

hospital to get people going.

Bega Valley locals have been

told they'd better stop

scrapping over their planned

hospital or the project will be

Adelaide. South Bega has been

name as the site. Much to the

Chagrin of the advocates of

Merimbula. They're demanding

the decision be overturned. At

Orange, a congress sultant has

decided the historic Chinaman's

Bend Cemetery is probably of

State significance. The

graveyard was the district's

first and was established in

the 1820s. Orange Council is

looking at a suggested management plan for the

cemetery. Far north coast

sharks, rips and general beach

conditions will be monitored

this summer by a network of

eight surveillance cameras. Any

problems at popular swimming

spots between Tweed Heads and

Yamba should be picked up bay

control room at Ballina.

Newcastle Council wants to be

able to control hotel opening

hours. The city has one of the

State's highest rates of

grog-related assaults. The

council wants the licencing

court stripped of its powers to

grant pubs extended trading

hours. It's arguing that

councils and local police

should be given the job. About

80,000 flying foxes which like

to spend summer at their Coffs

Harbour camp have had a reprief

from possible eviction. Council

efforts to kick them out have been temporarily scaled back

because of delays in government

approval and problems with land

acquisition. The development of

a strategic five-year plan to

deal with the flying foxes

probably won't start until next


That's Stateline for this

week. We planned to bring your

our advertised story on men's

sheds next week. Kerry O'Brien

will be back with the '7:30

Report' on Monday. Bye-bye.

Closed Captions by CSI

The family claim s it had

requested Mr Howe's body be

kept intact to honour Maori

tradition. The brighter the

colour the more possibility

there could be actually a

lead-based paint being used to

paint it. The reality is

there's a bunch of people who

don't like going to clubs, who

don't like bringing their

family into veen yurs that have

poker machines. They gave

doemations, they've got their Keno. Is there a connection? We've ironically

been a business who spent a lot

of time trying to persuade

people not to buy our product.

and welcome to another big episode Hi, I'm Andy Muirhead, here on Collectors. From kimonos to craftwork, Tonight, we've got everything. from pints to pictures, in the next half hour. stick around - it's all happening THEME MUSIC how are you? Hello, my lovelies, Very good. Well, thank you. 'cause we're off to the pub. I'm excited Yeah, we are off to the pub. we're looking at tonight. But it's not bar-analia It's breweriana. it is a beer collection. Here, as you can see, over 20 years. It has been put together range from all These things can from a couple of cents different prices, to thousands of dollars. that's stunning, And I'll show you furniture