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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 3 May 2007) . . Page.. 895 ..


Perhaps the most notable implication arising from the Court of Appeal decisions is the ability for the Legislative Assembly to vest all groundwater of the territory, except that controlled by the commonwealth, in the territory and thus manage it in the same way as surface water. Accordingly the bill provides for all groundwater to now be covered by the same allocation arrangements as for surface water. The revised arrangement that can now be implemented will improve the management of water resources and remove a complicating and inequitable anomaly.

The bill contains a number of provisions for the proactive and improved administration and management of the territory’s water resources. As a result, the original intention for an integrated approach to water management should be able to be achieved. Provisions include explicit legislative linkages between the total water resource, environmental flow provisions and volumes available for allocation and licensing, and licensing and exemption arrangements which encourage water sensitive urban design and environmental protection.

There are also more practical compliance powers to facilitate water resource management, particularly during dry periods such as the present. New powers will enable water resource officers to inspect premises of licensees with bores in the same way that Actew officers inspect water meters, and to issue infringement notices if a breach of the act has occurred.

In summary, the new approach to water allocation and the associated measures provided for by this bill will lead to a more equitable approach to allocating available water, the more efficient use of available water consistent with the Government’s water strategy “Think water, act water”, the greater adoption of water sensitive urban design measures, the implementation of commitments made through the National Water Initiative and the more streamlined and effective administration of water resources. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Mulcahy) adjourned to the next sitting.

Allocation of the call

Statement by Speaker

MR SPEAKER: Members, lest there be further disquiet about these matters, I draw this to your attention. I have just been passed this information by the Clerk, from page 354 of House of Representatives Practice. It says:

When the second reading has been moved immediately pursuant to S.O. 142(a), it is mandatory for debate to be adjourned after the Minister’s speech, normally on a formal motion of a member of the opposition executive.

In this place, as we know, each member of the opposition executive has frontbench responsibilities, and routinely they are the people who are most interested in the bills which come before the place. So it has always been rather routine to call them. But, Dr Foskey, I note that on one other occasion—I think it was on the Electricity (Greenhouse Gas Emissions) Bill—you received the call.


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