Blaming water quality issues at the new Elizabeth Quay water park on dirty children is a “red herring”, the West Australian opposition says.
Opposition planning spokeswoman Rita Saffioti said water quality concerns were raised before the BHP Billiton Water Park was opened, and blaming the current bacteria-related closure on children’s hygiene was irresponsible.
“To blame children for what are significant problems with his water park is totally offensive – it’s an insult to WA families,” Ms Saffioti told reporters.
Her comments came after WA Premier Colin Barnett suggested showering children before they played in the park, which was closed last month after a potentially harmful variety of bacterium was detected in water samples.
“I think we’re probably going to have to look at some standards of hygiene … I mean that in a constructive way,” Mr Barnett told 6PR radio.
“Maybe kids have got to run through a shower before they get in and things like that just to reduce the risk of any bacteria.”
Mr Barnett said he had raised the idea with Health Minister Kim Hames, who last week suggested the same measure, adding the bacteria could be growing in the discharge pipes as it hadn’t been found “in any of the water that goes on people”.
The premier added it was common to be required to walk through a shower before using a pool in hotels around the world, noting large volumes of children were using the water park.
“I think that’s just personal hygiene and might actually reduce the case of bacteria,” he told reporters.
“Parents can take some responsibility for kids.”
But Ms Saffioti dismissed Mr Barnett’s idea as a “thought bubble” that wasn’t based on any analysis.
“Today the premier of WA blamed the children of WA for his dodgy water park,” she said.
“What planet is he on? There were water quality concerns raised before it was opened.”