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Tuesday, 18 September 1973
Page: 1217


Mr Lynch asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

(1)   Has the Government received any requests from State Governments for Commonwealth financial assistance in providing sewerage facilities in urban areas.

(2)   If so, (a) what is the (i) nature and (ii) amount of each request and


Mr Uren (REID, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Urban and Regional Development) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The Prime Minister wrote to all the Premiers last December requesting information on the extent of Federal assistance required by the principal water and sewerage authorities to enable them to embark promptly and economically on an uninterrupted program to provide services to all the premises in their area by 1978.

(2)   (a)

(i)   The States generally requested assistance in overcoming the sewerage backlog (i.e. reducing the number of unsewered properties). However, the major problem, particularly in the capital cities, is the treatment of sewage, and all States require funds for this purpose. South Australia also faces a major problem, as the quality of its water supply continues to deteriorate, and a major part of any funds allocated by the Commonwealth to the State would be spent on water treatment. In all cases, sewerage cannot be looked at in isolation; water supply and drainage are essentially related factors in any attempts to reduce the sewerage backlog problem.

(ii)   In the replies received from the States, there was considerable variation in the requests for financial assistance. Some States restricted their requests to sewerage only, whilst others made allowance for both water supply and drainage in preparing their budget. Some States also made an allowance for cost escalation, whilst others did not. It appears that elimination of the sewerage backlog in the major urban areas (population 60,000 and over) will require funds of the order of $800m, rising to $ 1,000m if urban areas of less than 60,000 population are included. This is in addition to what the principal utilities authorities can provide from their likely resources.

(b)   As there has been considerable variation in the replies received from the States, and time has not allowed more complete information to be obtained, emphasis has been placed on the first year (1973-74) of the period in mind. The Australian Government has offered the States assistance totalling $30m in 1973-74 towards elimination of the sewerage backlog in the principal urban areas. The funds will be provided for specific projects approved by the Australian Government. The distribution between States is as follows:

 

There will be further discussions with the States on the development of programs for future years.







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