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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Friday, 27 June 2008) . . Page.. 2370 ..


MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (1.23 am): I do not care how late in the day it is, I, as the shadow minister for water, cannot go past Actew without speaking on this important organisation. I will use it as an opportunity to remind people in the ACT that at last we look like we will be seeing a dam in the ACT. I am glad that the Chief Minister, Treasurer and minister for water has graced us because, as Mr Seselja asked earlier today, what has the Stanhope government been doing? We have been in drought for seven years. At the last election, the Canberra Liberals went to the election with a policy to immediately start to build and fill a dam, because it takes a long time to do such a thing.

Dr Foskey: How are you going to fill it?

Mr Stanhope: How are you going to fill it?

MRS DUNNE: Well, the same way as the Chief Minister would fill his dam. I am not here to have a debate about whether our dam is better than your dam but to congratulate the Stanhope government for having eventually had the guts to do it. It has taken them four years; they have been dragged, kicking and screaming, but eventually they are actually going to—they have worked up enough courage to—do what the people of the ACT have been crying out for for some time: they are going to build a dam.

This is what the people of the ACT need. This is an essential part of the security of the people of the ACT into the future—to have a secure water supply. It will perhaps give us a little bit of capacity to take a breath and come up with some rational approaches to water conservation measures that would go with this so that the people of the ACT, the taxpayers of the ACT, who are paying a pretty price for their water, may be able to benefit from it in some form, in the amenity that they receive in their private domains, in their gardens, in their local parks; so that there will be enough water to provide for the continuation of Canberra’s urban forest and to rebuild Canberra’s reputation as a garden city.

Over the past years of drought, the fabric of our garden city, the fabric of our urban forest, has been severely degraded and it has been degraded while this Chief Minister, this minister for water, has been responsible. He has had his hands on the levers all through this time but has essentially sat by and done nothing. It is less than a year ago that the Chief Minister stood up in this place and said, “We may never have to build a dam.” He was there saying, “Please let it be that we don’t have to build a dam, that I am not forced to build a dam, because those pesky Liberals suggested it and I could never possibly take up a policy initiative that was originally suggested by the pesky Liberals.”

That is really what it boiled down to, and he has been dragged, kicking and screaming. There are claw marks in the carpet upstairs where the Chief Minister has been hanging on, saying, “No, no, no, don’t pull me towards the brink of the dam.” So we are eventually here. Fairly soon the ink will be dry on the contracts and we can get underway. And it is about time; the people of the ACT deserve this.


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