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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (12 February) . . Page.. 303..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

The community needs to have a debate about that issue. The government's primary obligation is to ensure patient safety. Given the strict controls we have on who operates a pharmacy and who can own a pharmacy, we feel confident that patient safety is being adequately protected.

Draft water strategy

MS TUCKER: My question is to the Minister for Environment, Mr Stanhope. The draft ACT water strategy "Think water, act water"did not include an analysis of the environmental costs of any of the options. When asked a question about that on 26 November 2003, the minister confirmed that there was a preparedness to spell out much more clearly the environmental impacts of the range of options, including dams. Also, there was a commitment to making available to the community a full environmental cost analysis of each option.

I understand that no such information has been circulated at the community forums, even though those forums have been hearing from people about their preference for or against the construction of a new dam. Why did you not ensure that the community was provided with a rigorous evaluation of the impacts of the various choices being presented when you were asking for input?

MR STANHOPE: As I indicated in the draft water strategy, the government had asked Actew to begin a detailed analysis and assessment of options for the achieving of potential further sources of water for the ACT. I mentioned that and discussed that at some length on Tuesday of this week, I believe. The approach that the government has adopted has been to develop a water strategy. We released a draft for consultation. We are still consulting on that. Essentially, the consultations that have been held have been focused very much on the draft water strategy.

In concert with that, and as notified in the draft strategy, I have asked Actew, and have supported the cooperative arrangements that they have created with both the CSIRO and Ecowise, to develop a position paper on potential options. They have considered a number and they have refined them to three. We are just refining the content and extent of that report and I propose to release it in the very near future. It does give the first detailed analysis and understanding of the methodology that Actew, the CSIRO and Ecowise are pursuing in relation to the identification of possible options.

In the context of that, as I said, they are doing a range of work, including hydrological studies and studies in relation to climate change and the likely impacts of that on catchments or the very options that we have narrowed it down to. That work is not finalised. I understand from Actew that the last part of that work, namely, work in relation to the hydrology of the Naas Valley, is still being pursued by Ecowise on behalf of Actew. When that work has been completed, I propose to release that report. At this stage, we have not invited consultation or discussion on options specifically for a future dam. We are discussing and consulting on our water strategy, a strategy that we propose to finalise within the next few weeks.

It is the government's intention that there be a long, detailed, very credible and open consultation process on future water supply options. At this stage, it is not something that


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