Page 1933 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 27 June 2023

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The bill also clarifies roles and responsibilities in relation to water resource assessment and investigations. The director-general becomes responsible for surface and groundwater baseline monitoring. This monitoring is a key contributor to the objective evidence necessary to inform decisions on managing water quality and quantity both today and in the future. The Environment Protection Authority retains responsibility for regulatory water resource investigation.

The bill augments the function of the ACT and Region Catchment Coordination Group. This group was established as an interjurisdictional and regional collaboration body under the act in August 2015. I commend the ongoing work of this group and recognise the valuable contribution they continue to make by bringing together diverse stakeholders to provide expert advice.

To further support evidence-based decision-making, the bill adds a provision which allows the Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction to direct the group to provide advice about a state of water catchment management matter. This provides an adaptive approach to addressing evolving catchment matters outside of the group’s business-as-usual activities.

The bill makes consequential amendments to the Water Resources Regulation 2007, the Utilities Act 2000 and the Environment Protection Act 1997. These are minor in nature and, in part, ensure relevant agencies share information both with the Environment Protection Authority and the director-general.

In drafting the bill, targeted consultation was conducted internally with affected ACT government directorates, in particular the Environment Protection Authority within Access Canberra, as well as with the Chair of the ACT and Region Catchment Coordination Group.

This bill makes no material changes to the functions and powers that currently exist but instead makes changes in the act to administrative responsibilities to clarify function. It does, however, broadly provide the operating framework for the Office of Water, as required by the Parliamentary and Governing Agreement, and delivers the legal platform to support a holistic and coordinated approach to water policy.

On that basis, I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Transport Canberra and City Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2022

Debate resumed from 21 September 2022, on motion by Mr Steel:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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