Page 2031 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 28 June 2023

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Importantly, there is a buffer zone around the Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre, and that is set under the Territory Plan to preclude residential development within that buffer zone. So, between the technological response of containing the odours, and the application of the buffer zone, the intent is that residents will not be affected by odours arising from the plant.

MR BRADDOCK: What standard is in place to protect the river downstream, and is it adequate to protect that water?

MR RATTENBURY: The centre is covered by environmental authorisation, which is issued to Icon Water by the Environment Protection Authority, and that sets discharge water quality criteria of the treated effluent. Performance results are reported to the EPA on a monthly basis. Treated water leaving the plant is required to meet a range of water quality criteria, including: dissolved solids, total phosphorous, nitrogen, suspended solids, ammonia, chlorine and coliform. There are quite a number of benchmarks there.

The performance of the Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre is generally compliant with the environmental authorisation under normal operating conditions. Icon Water advise that the treatment processes ensure that water discharge to the Molonglo River will not affect the environment. The upgrades to the plant are intended to improve that. Again, it is obviously an aging plant, and technology has improved in the intervening years. So, these new upgrades that are being sought by Icon Water, and that have been approved through their price determination this year to enable them to spend a certain amount of capital on these projects, are very much designed to ensure those current standards are met and to use the latest technology to ensure the water being discharged from the plant is of the highest quality and does not have an environmental impact on the river.

Federal government—infrastructure investment

MR PETTERSSON: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, how is the commonwealth government supporting the ACT to deliver our infrastructure priorities?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Pettersson for the question. The short answer is they are engaged and at the table and working with us, which is a remarkable contrast to what we had experienced prior to the election of this government. The federal government respects this jurisdiction as a self-determining jurisdiction, a self-governing jurisdiction. They want to work with us, not against us, in the delivery of our city’s infrastructure needs. The budget we delivered yesterday demonstrates the start of many shared infrastructure priorities between the two levels of government—whether that is through the implementation of the National Housing Accord, through co-investment in active transport projects, co-investment in light rail, co-investment in new education facilities; the commonwealth contribution towards the youth foyer and student housing at the CIT Woden is another practical example. Their support and partnership with the territory on the renewal of the AIS arena is another practical example. They partner with us in the delivery of a number of important projects across many areas of our city’s infrastructure needs. It is fantastic to have a partner working with us, not against us.

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