Page 3824 - Week 11 - Thursday, 24 November 2022

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

As Mr Davis rightly notes, the research that the ACT government has been doing clearly shows that nutrients in the lake come from many sources, and one of the key things is to try and address those nutrient sources as far up the catchment as possible. Dealing with grass clippings is one part of that, and the point that he has raised around trying to think through how we manage our mowing practices to minimise the inflow of nutrients is an important one.

I thought I would speak about how the ACT government’s investment in ACT Healthy Waterways is improving water quality and how the new Office for Water will assist in coordinating a holistic approach to water management. I have spoken in this place about the Office for Water a number of times. It has now been established. It was created to address the lack of a holistic approach to water management.

Many areas of government operations relate to water and catchment management and these areas historically have worked without that centralised, coordinated approach. Whilst I think they have worked very diligently, the government has clearly identified—and this is why we took this policy to the election—that there is room for improvement in that space. I think we can make sure that the significant effort being put in by a range of agencies is more impactful through the process of better coordination. The new office will be a central coordination point that will help to ensure that water quality outcomes are considered across government operations, policies and programs. This will include looking at improvements that can be made to mowing practices.

The Healthy Waterways program has been spoken about quite a bit today. It seeks to deliver infrastructure such as constructed wetlands, rain gardens and swales, as well as public education on protecting and improving water quality. This program is an important part of our work to make incremental improvements in stormwater quality right across Canberra, and with a particular focus on the Lake Tuggeranong catchment.

As I have been quite frank in acknowledging, we all know that Lake Tuggeranong has really struggled in recent times. That is why it has been a significant focus of the government’s efforts under this program. The incidence of algal blooms is high in Lake Tuggeranong, and in some of our other urban lakes and ponds, and that is not a simple matter to solve. These problems have been developing since the lake and surrounding development have been in place. It will take time to address these problems where they are most acute.

We also need to undertake the due diligence and investigations to ensure that future investments are going to solve problems and be cost-effective. That is why the Healthy Waterways program is not just about water quality assets. I think the way Ms Lawder spoke about some of those assets was unfortunate. The program is not just about assets. It has actually been about research and community engagement and community education because we know that a range of solutions are required, and we know that the knowledge and the understanding of how to make those improvements

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video