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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (29 June) . . Page.. 2898..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

I have been hiking up on the Long Plain area around Tantangara for about 30 years with mates from school. On a number of occasions even the old Currango Homestead is visible. My memory is that that is at one of the deeper parts of the dam. You can see the old buildings because that dam is traditionally so empty, or so low in capacity. If you consult the Snowy Mountain scheme website you will find that, at peak, Tantangara in the last couple of years has had 12 per cent of capacity. This is the water the Chief Minister wants to buy, the water that is not there-because, for most of the year, Tantangara is at about five per cent capacity.

I do not know what sort of negotiator Bob Carr is but I suspect he is not going to have a great deal of sympathy with the ACT buying his water at the height of a drought when Tantangara reservoir is at five per cent or less. So let us be very clear about the option to build a pipeline to the empty dam. It is daft! Why would we build a territory owned asset on land that we do not own across to a dam that we do not control to a dam that is mainly empty so we can buy water from a jurisdiction which, at the height of a time when we would need to buy water, probably has its own problems in either keeping environmental flows going, or supplying water into the Snowy hydro scheme to facilitate the supply of electricity?

Whilst we welcome the backflip from the Labor Party and the fact that they are now considering water trading, which I think is a reasonable use of a resource, particularly if environmental flows are guaranteed, as they are under legislation, and there is an excess at certain parts of the cycle and at certain times of the year, we cannot assist towns like Yass, Goulburn and Cooma and the surrounding areas-the surrounding vineyards.

We all talk about regional engagement, regional sustainability and the Canberra region, the Capital Region. But if we do not have the ability to work with them to further their economic growth, which is a spur to us, then I think we are fooling ourselves. The answer is not to build a pipeline to a dam that is, in the main, empty. The answer is, of course, to build the Naas Valley dam that has been on the books for about 30 years. When it comes to value for money, the building of that dam is probably the best proposition that can be put to the government.

The issue of water tanks is interesting. If everybody put a large water tank on and spent, I think, about $15,000-

Mrs Dunne: A 10,000 litre tank costs about $2,000.

MR SMYTH: We could translate the value of building a dam into putting a tank on every house. A dam for $150 million will give you 150 gigalitres. A water tank on every house to the same capacity will cost about the same amount of money, but will not give you the same amount of water.

MR SPEAKER: The member's time has expired.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (4.26): Mr Speaker, there are many matters which clearly distinguish this government's performance from that of its predecessors.

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