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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (13 May) . . Page.. 1858..

Water and Sewerage Amendment Bill 2004

Mrs Dunne, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MRS DUNNE (8.01): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to present the Water and Sewerage Act Amendment Bill 2004. The purpose of this bill is to amend the Water and Sewerage Act 2000 and the Water and Sewerage Regulations 2001 to institute a new system of mandatory water efficiency measures. The aim of the bill is to provide for a number of simple measures that can easily be complied with to ensure that as a community we can reduce our domestic water consumption.

The bill is, in essence, a reprise of and replaces the Building (Water Efficiency) Amendment Bill sponsored by the opposition in 2002. The previous bill amended the Building Act 1972, which has subsequently been repealed. The mechanism to amend the Building Act was not the best vehicle for making water efficiency changes.

At one stage the responsible minister considered making changes to the regulations himself to put water efficiency measures in place, but it is clear from the government's recently published water strategy, or lack of strategy, that the government is not prepared to go down the path of mandating water efficient measures because it would be too much like making a decision. At the end of this debate, I propose to discharge the Building (Water Efficiency) Amendment Bill from the notice paper. Sadly, from opposition the process of changing something like plumbing regulations is slightly cumbersome. The vehicle of this bill is not as elegant as I would have liked, but it does a workman-like job.

Part 2 of the bill amends the Water and Sewerage Act 2000. It inserts a new section 17A, which creates a strict liability offence if a licensee does water supply plumbing work that contravenes the Water and Sewerage Regulations 2001 in relation to a shower, a tap inside a building or a sink. Part 3 of the bill amends the Water and Sewerage Regulations 2001. It inserts a new regulation 16A in the Water and Sewerage Regulations 2001, which requires that, in accordance with section 17A of the act, there are new prescribed requirements for work that involves new plumbing. These requirements are, firstly, that, when installing a new shower, either approved works must include a valve that reduces water flow in the tap for the shower or the showerhead must have at least a AAA efficiency rating under the Australian/New Zealand Standard for showerheads, which is 6400-2003 or whatever water efficiency standard is current; secondly, when installing new indoor taps, the tap must contain a valve that reduces water flow, unless the tap is directly attached to an appliance such as a dishwasher or a washing machine; and, thirdly, when installing a sink, a garbage disposal unit may not be connected.

I want to look at what these provisions do in more detail. They relate specifically to AAA showerheads, flow-reducing valves and insinkerators. According to the government's own Factsheet No 4: Water Efficient Showerheads in Think Water, Act Water:

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