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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4125..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

Ms Tucker did mention the $30 water rebate for water efficient shower heads, and this is a good thing. But this is catch-up politics. The opposition is introducing innovative legislation that requires people to do this in all of their domestic circumstances. We should be moving from domestic circumstances to commercial, government and industrial areas. We should sell the message that we need to be careful if we are to continue to have the highest quality potable water and not flush it down our loos or send it up through our fountains but do something sensible to re-use water that is appropriate for that use.

It is a great disappointment that, in the current circumstances of a critical drought facing us and the first time in all memory of our going into compulsory water restrictions in the ACT, this government after six months has brought forth a mouse.

MS DUNDAS (4.38): I also rise to speak on this strategy and to also echo the comments made by my colleagues. It is disappointing that this development of a strategy, which the government has been working on since the motion was passed in June, does not provide more clear direction or actual answers to the questions that it poses.

Australia is a dry country. Droughts happen in cycles across this land. Even though this motion was passed in the height of winter, fluctuating weather patterns across the ACT show that we need to have long-term planning for our water uses. It is unfortunate then that the government has come up with a slogan and a commitment to avoid as much as possible the building of another dam, but within that little clear direction, little clear future planning and little action behind the pretty words.

At the moment, we only have one person in the ACT government working on water resource policy, and they have developed a very good statement. But how are we going to implement any conclusions that we reach from this strategy? Where do we go from here? Where are the resources, and where is the commitment to more than just words?

We need to look at our own practices in the ACT in relation to little things like how we water our urban open spaces and our recreation parks and to the big things like the management of water through dams, lakes and rivers. Unfortunately, it seems that the government is not willing to make a commitment to answer these questions and to progress forward.

If the population of the ACT and surrounding region rises, as expected, to 450,000 by 2050, that will impact greatly on our water supply. We need to think long term and come up with concrete proposals, solutions and action, as opposed to just a pretty slogan. Hopefully, this strategy will lead us to decisions and outcomes for best managing the water supply in the ACT and lead us to acknowledge the impact that that has on our surrounding region. Hopefully, it will do that quickly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


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