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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3448..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Similarly, through the establishment and implementation of think water, act water, we set ourselves some significant targets in terms of mains water use reduction and the increased use of waste water. We are making very good progress on each of those. The implementation of permanent water conservation measures has achieved through its first year the targets we set for it, which puts us well and truly on the way to achieving that reduction in per capita use of mains water. Similarly, we have significantly increased the use of waste water within the urban environment, remembering always, of course, that we lead the nation in the context of recycling and returning recycled water to the environment because of the closed nature of our system. We are an inland city with major water treatment works that treat 50 per cent of all the water that we take. That is something that no other city in Australia does, or no other city of this size does, to the extent or capacity that is exhibited here, primarily because they are on the coast and do not treat and reuse or recycle their water.

The ACT now recycles back into the Murray-Darling Basin system 50 per cent of all the water we take. We gross about 65 gigalitres and we return 32 gigalitres of water every year. In addition to that, through think water, act water the government continues to support a range of programs and supports for the better use of water within our community.

MS MacDONALD: I ask a supplementary question. Could the Chief Minister also elaborate on what regional and national forums the ACT participates in?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms MacDonald for the question. The ACT government actively participates in regional and national fora designed to ensure that we act collegiately and together as a region and as a nation in relation to water and water reform.

That is headed up, of course, by our participation in the Murray-Darling Basin initiative. I am pleased to say that in the last three months the ACT, for the first time, has become a full participating member of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission. We previously had observer status. At the last meeting of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission we were granted full membership. Canberra is the major urban centre in the Murray-Darling Basin and I am pleased that the ACT government has now been afforded full membership, which of course allows us to participate fully in decision making in relation to the Murray-Darling.

There are some aspects of the management and of the commission's work that the ACT government does not participate in. The ACT does not take water. We have no water allocations that are of concern. We have not overallocated, as the other jurisdictions do. There is a range of subject matters within the commission's function in respect of which the ACT is not a participating member.

The ACT government is also participating in the national water initiative. We were a party to the establishment of the National Water Commission and participate actively in relation to, for instance, appointments to the commission and its membership. As I have previously announced, as part of the national water initiative the government has lodged a submission with the National Water Commission for funding for projects


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