Primary Industries and Water Minister Steve Kons said the offer was made after TWS advised that it had not yet sold sufficient water to achieve financial closure on the $35M project under its arrangements with the Bendigo Bank.

Kons said: ‘Our offer is to underwrite the shortfall in sales below the particular level which TWS advise is necessary to obtain project finance.’

The Minister added that any purchase would be on a commercial basis and would not disadvantage farmers or investors who had already committed to buy.

However, objection to the move has been made by the Tasmanian Greens, which describes the government’s offer as a waste of public money. The environmental group says the funds should be allocated to health and housing, not the Meander dam.

‘There is already around $10M of public money allocated to the Meander dam yet it has failed in the market to attract enough commercial custom,’ said Peg Putt of the Greens. ‘The government would be most imprudent in their use of taxpayers funds to now get into a further $15M of ongoing expenditure when the Solicitor General said in July that any extra public funding was high risk.’

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