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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 19 May 1993) . . Page.. 1604 ..


As Minister responsible for the environment and the one who gives the licence to Lower Molonglo to operate, I see to it that we keep them up to task. I am quite proud of the measures that I have taken, in cooperation with Mr Connolly, since I became a Minister, to improve the quality of the outflow from Lower Molonglo. You may recall that some time ago there were quite a number of bypasses there - that is the word that is used. They have been considerably reduced. I required an environmental audit to be made of that facility, and I believe that it has had very beneficial results.

For example, the new licence that we issued to them after that audit limits the amount of phosphorus leaving the plant to 30 kilograms a day. It was previously 35. In 1993 the discharge has been well below that level. For instance, in April the average was 19 kilograms a day. Concentrations in the river at Uriarra Crossing downstream from Lower Molonglo are well below the required standards nationally. This shows that phosphorus removal by the treatment plant is working well. Members would understand that removal of phosphorus is seen as a key element in preventing the growth of blue-green algae. The algae needs both nitrogen and phosphorus to grow, and scientific evidence indicates that a nitrogen to phosphorus ratio of over 20:1 will impede growth. Currently, Lower Molonglo is operating at a consistently better ratio than that. So it is correct to say that ACTEW are performing well at the Lower Molonglo facility.

Industrial Awards - Preference Clauses

MR MOORE: My question is directed to Mr Berry as Minister for Industrial Relations. Mr Berry, at the Estimates Committee hearing last year you undertook to provide details of all industrial awards applicable to the ACT Government Service which incorporate preference clauses for employment of union members. Your reply indicated ACT award preference for Fire Brigade employees as well as employees on Jobskills programs - just those two. What action will you now take to explain to those employees that under ACT legislation which I assume will be shortly gazetted they cannot be discriminated against on the grounds of either belonging to or not belonging to a union?

MR BERRY: My understanding is that the Federal award will apply.

Mr Moore: No, the Fire Brigade is under an ACT award.

MR BERRY: No, it is under a Federal award. It is a Federal award which is governed by the Federal Industrial Relations Act. Therefore, my advice is that that award would prevail over local laws.

Land Tax

MR KAINE: My question is addressed to the Treasurer. Last Thursday the Treasurer made a comprehensive speech when she outlined the budgetary problem for this year. Her only solution was to ask the Commonwealth for more money, although only two days before, in a very good speech, I suggested that she should begin the community consultation process and tell us what the options were so far as the local taxpayers are concerned. I note from her Victorian colleagues that the shadow Treasurer in Victoria, Mr Ian Baker, in talking about Victoria's massive financial problem, has suggested:


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