“But nothing can be done about this until the south-eastern sewerage system and the Carrum treatment plant are completed,” he said.
“It is the high degree of pollution which we are concerned about,” he said.
Mr. Robertson said the Carrum treatment plant was already nearly 12 months behind schedule because of wild-cat stoppages, union demarcation disputes and off-site strikes.
He said the first properties were due to be connected to the new system this June. “Now we do not expect to be open until at least April next year,” he said.
“Each week of delay is costing the community $200,000.
“Melbourne’s main watercourse, the Yarra, cannot be fully sewered until this south-eastern system is completed.
“The whole community must realise that now is the time to stop talking about pollution and get down to the solid work of preventing it.”
All of Melbourne’s sewage now flows to the 80-year-old Werribee sewage farm. The new $182 million system is designed to serve the present and future needs of the rapidly expanding eastern suburbs.
Mr Robertson said most unsewered properties were out in the newer eastern suburbs.
Extension of sewerage up the Dandenong Creek Valley and the cleaning up of the “highly polluted Dandenong Creek” were high priority tasks.
“Our biggest problem at present is shortage of funds. We are trying to work towards the State Government deadline of 1980 to have the whole of Melbourne sewered,” he said.
“The Federal Government has indicated it will provide some funds. The board can effectively spend another 20 percent next year in addition to the $62 million we are spending on sewerage this year.
“I am not paying out on any union, or blaming them, but the community must realise that everybody must pull together to overcome the pollution problems.”
The chairman of the Board of Works (Mr. Croxford) said yesterday he deplored the strike holding up the completion of the work.
Michael Gordon was one of Australia’s most respected journalists. He won many honours, including the Graham Perkin award for Australia’s most outstanding journalist and the Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism. His reporting turned an unflinching spotlight on the treatment of asylum seekers and the injustices faced by many Indigenous Australians. He suffered a fatal heart attack in 2018, a week after filing his last story.