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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 5 Hansard (10 May) . . Page.. 1514..


MRS BURKE (continuing):

funding that was a pre-election promise by the Stanhope government prior to the 2004 election. Mr Corbell said words to the effect that I have said that I ought to call for more money for public housing. That is simply not true. I do not believe I have ever, in this Assembly and probably the previous one—but certainly not in this Assembly—called for more money for public housing. The shadow Treasurer would not let me. There is no way. So we are very tight on that. I have to say that I simply want the government to come good on its pre-election promise.

Mr Corbell: That's it?

MRS BURKE: Mr Corbell can interject all he wants. He is feeling very embarrassed, sitting there. Better management of the territory's finances might have assured the housing sector, as we saw this morning—

Mr Corbell: So you are not calling for more funding, but you are calling for more funding.

MRS BURKE: You are very touchy. You are having a bad week. Obviously it has touched a nerve with Mr Corbell. Clearly he is trying to make mischief. Clearly he is trying to say something I never said. I am glad he is smiling and is in better cheer than he was earlier in the week and certainly earlier in the day.

Let us not forget that this election promise is now 18 months overdue. I point Mr Corbell to the Auditor-General's report. It makes for fascinating reading. He may find some useful recommendations there about areas where cost savings and efficiencies can be made. I finish on this note: if Mr Corbell feels he cannot correct the public record and stand up and be a gentleman and be a man, to quote the Chief Minister's words, then it is he who is the problem, not I.

Water conservation

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (6.15): I make some brief comments applauding the innovative and practical measures that local residents are taking to improve water use in the ACT, thanks to the support of the federal government's community water grants scheme. I was indebted recently to receive a briefing for me and one of my advisers from the federal Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Mr Greg Hunt MP, who was good enough to brief me in these areas shortly after my appointment as shadow minister for water.

The federal government has allocated $200 million over five years to offer grants of up to $50,000 to eligible applicants in local communities. These grants are encouraging the development of practical and effective projects that will result in greater community participation in sustainable water use activities.

The first successful round of community water grants projects was announced on 13 March this year. Funding of $61.5 million was offered for 1,750 projects that will contribute to the conservation and protection of Australia's precious water resources. Of this first round, in which approximately one in three proposals were approved, more than 90 per cent were targeted at water saving and are expected to save around 18,500 megalitres of water each year.


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