Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 24 November 2022) . . Page.. 3826 ..
In terms of Mr Davis’s motion, whilst he has very specifically focused on known practices, I make some of these comments to highlight the fact that there are a range of things we need to do. The government is very focused on this. We have been frank about the challenges we face, but I think we can also be really clear that this is not saying it has been neglected. This is a problem that is being actively addressed, both with resources and with considerable human effort to seek to turn around the situation in Lake Tuggeranong which has been building up since the lake was established. It will take time to turn it around. I am very pleased to support Mr Davis’s motion today.
I can say that I do not intend to support the amendment moved by Ms Lawder. I note the comments she made during the debate. I think they were unduly derisory of the work that is being done. She talked about the experiments and then listed a series of her complaints on the outcomes of those experiments. I am a great believer that one should be willing to try things. You obviously think about it first and you research it. These are well-researched responses to the problems we are facing. The sort of commentary that Ms Lawder makes suggests that we should not actually try anything. Her comments were, “Well, this is broken. This isn’t working properly.” Of course, that is part of the learning and experimentation process.
I can assure both Ms Lawder and the rest of the chamber that the water team is working very hard to make sure these programs are effective. There have been adjustments to some of the wetlands because they have not performed as expected or the scale of the water flowing through them has actually damaged them on occasion. There have been a range of repairs, and that work will continue as we seek to work on those experiments—and they are experiments. Lessons are being learned as we go. The only alternative option to avoid this critique is to do nothing, and that is not an option that I am willing to accept. We have to work hard to fix these lakes and waterways.
In terms of the general comments that she made, and that are contained in the amendment, about not having an evidence base and not monitoring this, I have answered questions on those matters before. We have provided significant information to Ms Lawder through questions on notice that she has asked. The team has spent a lot of time working on those answers to make sure that Ms Lawder is well briefed. We have been very transparent with the information we do have, so I reject the premise of the amendment. It does not reflect the significant work that is being done and the quality control that we are seeking to apply to that work. I am happy to acknowledge that some things are not working as they intended and that there are lessons being learned. As I said, I can assure the Assembly that we will continue to learn from those issues and work as hard as we can to improve the water quality of our urban lakes and waterways.
MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (4.08): I would like to thank all speakers today—Minister Rattenbury, Minister Steel, Ms Lawder and Mrs Kikkert—for their contributions.
I was struck by one figure that Ms Lawder remarked on in her speech, about a newspaper article in 1994 commenting about blue-green algae in the lake. I have to admit to the chamber that that broke my heart a little bit because I said to myself upon