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Officers Furious As Govt Axes Pipe Checks

Sydney Morning Herald

Monday March 5, 1990

By ALICIA LARRIERA

Officers of the Water Board are said to be furious over a decision by the State Government to axe a project in which householders could have had their plumbing and drainage inspected for just $90.

A golden opportunity had been lost to assess the state of Sydney's drainage and plumbing systems, the officers said.

The Minister for the Environment, Mr Moore, has ordered that the scheme be stopped, even though $200,000 was spent on developing it.

The board is now negotiating with the Master Plumbers' Association in a bid to sell the Pipecheck scheme to the private sector.

Mr Moore is understood to have objected to the scheme on the grounds that he believed private enterprise was better placed to provide the inspection service.

The Premier, Mr Greiner, defended the actions of Mr Moore, who is overseas, saying: "The fact is Mr Moore discovered the bungle and you can't do more than that."

Describing the $200,000 spent developing Pipecheck as "deplorable", Mr Greiner said it would have been "a lot worse if the minister hadn't acted to stop it".

But board officers said inspectors carrying out the work would have been able to obtain comprehensive information for the board database and could have detected illegal connections that are often a menace to a safe water supply.

Mr Greiner was unable to confirm whether an inquiry - as demanded by the Opposition - would be held to determine why Mr Moore had been left unaware of the project until approached by board officers last month to officially launch Pipecheck.

© 1990 Sydney Morning Herald

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