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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2733..


MRS DUNNE (10.53): COAG is to meet tomorrow to continue the process of water reform. Before that important date I think it is important that this Assembly place on record just how significant this issue is and encourage the states, the Commonwealth and the territories to roll up their sleeves, get on with the job and put aside their partisan concerns for the good of the nation.

While we are talking about the good of the nation I was reflecting last night, whilst watching the 7.30 Report, about the different approaches of the states when it comes to the crucial water debate. I would like to reflect on some of the things that were said on the 7.30 Report by the Western Australian Premier, Dr Geoff Gallop, and the New South Wales Minister for Utilities and Energy, Mr Frank Sartor. Dr Gallop and Western Australia are taking a very serious approach to the problem of water. Dr Gallop said:

Look, I think we've all got a problem.

It's a nationwide issue.

If you look at human history - I mean some civilisations have collapsed either through changes in weather patterns or, indeed, through the way that they operated in their own environments.

Let's adjust, otherwise I think we're threatening the future of our environment and therefore we're threatening the future of our civilisation here in Australia.

Elsewhere Dr Gallop said:

Assume lower rainfall, assume even drier winters into the future and that's the basis upon which we're proceeding.

To do otherwise I think would be reckless.

Hear, hear, Dr Gallop! Dr Gallop is trying to address these issues. The reporter says that Western Australia is so concerned in this that Premier Geoff Gallop has organised his own war cabinet to plan a full-on assault on the water problems. We have Dr Geoff Gallop saying things like:

Unless you do that with major issues like this, you can get indigestion in the system of government and I think you can get difficulty in implementing any particular plan.

The reporter says that WA is going a long way to encourage water saving measures at a domestic level. I would like to contrast that very serious approach with the pollyanna approach of Mr Frank Sartor, the New South Wales energy and utilities minister, who said, "Look, it's not a problem". He said:

We're absolutely on top of it.

We're absolutely on top of it.

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