$9.4m in Govt subsidies for small communities

  • Tony Ryall

The Government has approved a total of $9.4 million in subsidies to improve drinking water supplies in small communities of under 5000 people.

“These subsidies will help 18 territorial local authorities and 11 private supplies to providing safer drinking water for about 22,000 people in small, disadvantaged communities,” Health Minister Tony Ryall said.

The 29 projects were the first to be approved under the revised criteria for drinking-water subsidies. The criteria require that the water supply will serve a permanent population of between 25 and 5000 people.

The criteria were revised to ensure only communities with a deprivation index of 7 and above are eligible for subsidies (a community with a deprivation index of 10 is the least socially and materially well-off).

Up to $10 million is available each year until 2015 and the scheme will pay up to 85 per cent of costs.

Originally launched in 2006, the Drinking Water Subsidy Scheme aims to help small communities establish or improve their drinking-water supplies.

The criteria for the subsidies were changed last year amid concerns that the scheme was not targeting the communities most in need of the funding.