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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 4 Hansard (4 April) . . Page.. 1335 ..


I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Water Resources Amendment Bill 2019

Mr Gentleman, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Advanced Technology and Space Industries) (10.37): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to present the Water Resources Amendment Bill 2019. This bill provides for two important but relatively technical amendments to the Water Resources Act 2007. The first of these amendments is the insertion into the act of section 11A, which identifies the framework of water resource planning in the ACT. The ACT water resource plan in general consists of a number of legislative instruments created under parts 3 and 4 of the act. Thus this amendment captures these determinations as the basis for the ACT water resources plan. An example of a determination is the ACT's environmental flow guidelines. The second is the inclusion of a new section that states that the amount of water available from the whole of the ACT's water management areas must not be more than the sustainable diversion limit set for the ACT for surface water and for groundwater.

While there are currently four legislative determinations that are key foundations of water resource planning in the ACT, this amendment identifies that these instruments are hence the framework of water resource planning in the ACT as a whole. Those involved in the water resources sector, be it stakeholders such as water entitlement holders or researchers in water planning, will have greater understanding of the ACT's water resource management.

I would like to briefly explain that the sustainable diversion limit is both a concept and a long-term volume set under the basin plan, a legislative instrument of the commonwealth's Water Act. The ACT, like all jurisdictions in the Murray-Darling Basin, is subject to the sustainable diversion limit on water use for its main watercourses, such as for the Murrumbidgee River in New South Wales, the Goulburn River in Victoria, the eastern Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia, and the Condamine-Balonne system in Queensland. The notion of a sustainable diversion limit across the basin's main watercourses is fundamental to restoring the health of the basin and making the best use of the basin's water resources. The sustainable


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