Outcry over tax on rain

EXCLUSIVE: Chris Tinkler

January 14, 2007 12:00am

THE Bracks Government is outraged at a leaked federal proposal to tax rainwater collected from roofs.

The idea was revealed in a leaked email seen by the Sunday Herald Sun.

Acting Premier John Thwaites yesterday warned that if water was privatised — as proposed by some federal Liberals — a tax on rainwater in tanks would follow.

The Bracks Government is furious at the mooted tax — it pays rebates on tanks as a water conservation measure.

In the email, National Water Commission chief Ken Matthews says, "Legally, all water in Australia is vested in governments."

Mr Matthews’ email continued: "Governments have not yet considered the capture of water from roofs in rainwater tanks to be of sufficient magnitude to warrant the issuing of specific entitlements to use this class of water.

"However, if rainwater tanks were to be adopted on a large scale such that their existence impacts significantly on the integrated water cycle, consideration could be given to setting an entitlement regime for this class of water."

Such a regime already exists for farmers catching rainwater and storing it in dams.

A residential household version could include a licensing arrangement and taxes for those wanting to collect more than a set amount.

The commission yesterday confirmed the email was accurate.

More on this story, go to Herald Sun

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