Page 3818 - Week 11 - Thursday, 24 November 2022

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As part of the Lake Tuggeranong foreshore development, we will also be looking at what we can do further around preventing litter entering the lake—and we will be working with the sportsground teams in the Tuggeranong area, who are also working on this challenge—and, of course, looking at the stormwater infrastructure and its role in helping to improving the lake water quality.

Household organic waste is also a problem and should not be dumped in gutters. We should be mindful of waste and littering. We all need to be mindful about what is entering our waterways. There have been substantial government education campaigns about that to try and educate the community, particularly as they are undertaking their own mowing, cleaning up leaves and the like, particularly during the autumn months.

The government will support Mr Davis’s motion today. We look ahead of the 2023-24 mowing program to see what changes can be made and what we can do to better address the grass clippings across our urban landscape. There is a balance to be struck. We know that we need to undertake the mowing, and that is an expectation of the community, and we need to do that in the most efficient manner possible.

We have heard from the community, through our deliberative democracy exercises like the Better Suburbs program, that TCCS should plan for surge capacity and flexibility in the mowing schedule to adapt to changes in weather patterns and seasons. We have done that by implementing the rapid response mowing team, which has been funded. It is a new 10-person team split into two parts—one is north and one is south—to, in addition to our scheduled mowing program, do reactive mowing based on community feedback and provide that surge capacity, given the current circumstances that we are in with warmer weather conditions and the La Nina wet weather that we have been seeing that has provided a perfect combination for grass growing.

We look forward to exploring and continuing to look at what other councils are doing around the country as well. But we are unique here in Canberra, and we need to take those circumstances into account as well. Of course, we have the largest amount of open space of any major city in Australia. That is a great feature of our city and something we also have to maintain and make sure that we are mowing to meet the expectations of the community. I look forward to updating the Assembly next year, and I thank Mr Davis for bringing his motion today.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (3.40): I would like to thank Mr Davis very much for bringing forth this motion today. I welcome any opportunity to discuss water quality in our lakes and waterways, and particularly so for Lake Tuggeranong.

As Mr Davis’s motion notes, Lake Tuggeranong has long been plagued by poor water quality. For example, in 1994 a Canberra Times article relating to Lake Tuggeranong said, “Warning over algae”. In 2014 we had headlines such as “Tuggeranong groups cry foul over stench coming from their lake”. More recently, the 2021 Catchment Health Indicator Program, or CHIP, labelled Lake Tuggeranong’s water quality as poor, marking it a D+, its worst ever result.

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