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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 1 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 345..

Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, I know that this is question time, but it is not a dialogue of question and answer between Mr Hargreaves and Mr Corbell. It is supposed to be directed to you and there was already a question on foot.

MR SPEAKER: Minister, will you proceed with the specific question and not deal so much with Mr Hargreaves's preamble.

MR CORBELL: Thank you, Mr Speaker, I was merely mentioning it in passing. The aims and achievements of the government's urban wetlands program are about delivering improvements in our biodiversity across the ACT. It is about working to rejuvenate and reconstruct concrete drains and waterways to conserve and improve the wonderful wetlands, such as those in Namadgi and at Jerrabomberra, and to create new wetland areas to improve water quality, improve biodiversity and improve urban amenity.

It is important to get on the record that this has been a longstanding commitment of the ACT Labor government. Indeed, as far back as 2006 the ACT Labor government announced and implemented a new wetlands policy. The aims of the government's wetlands programs are to protect our water supply and the natural environment. The creation of an urban area of wetlands is one of the most environmentally effective ways to improve the quality of stormwater and so of our lakes, streams and rivers.

These wetlands provide benefits to the community, obviously the restoration of concrete channels to more living systems, improving water quality by reducing nutrient load and suspended solids, focusing on improvements in flood protection by detaining water and releasing it more slowly, creating a safer environment, the creation of an aquatic habitat, with planted wetlands that attract water birds, frogs, turtles, bugs and yabbies, as well as providing opportunities for natural recreational experiences and opportunities for volunteer organisations in our local neighbourhoods.

The achievements of the ACT Labor government are clear for all to see. We can walk, cycle and drive around our city and see these new wetlands and existing wetlands growing and thriving. We have already seen wetlands completed in O'Connor, on Banksia Street, and the Flemington Road ponds. The Lyneham ponds are nearing completion and just a couple of weeks ago I had the great pleasure of opening the new Dickson wetlands on World Wetlands Day.

These represent investments of millions of dollars to improve water quality in the Sullivans Creek catchment, increases in habitat areas for native fauna, with locally occurring trees, shrubs, ground covers, grasses and historic plants being planted in and around the pond. The Dickson wetland will allow captured excess stormwater to be used to irrigate playing fields, replacing drinking water previously used for irrigation.

Of course, on top of this the Labor government has been committed to improving the health and management of our existing natural wetlands. We have created the Jerrabomberra wetlands trust and the Mulligans Flat trust, which will work to guide and advise on the management of wetlands in these areas. Work is also underway on

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