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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2010) . . Page.. 2184 ..


As a result of enhanced reporting regimes and the publication of quarterly reports, the community is being informed on project delivery achievements and a progression of major projects. Key achievements of 2009-10 already include completion of the upgrade of Tharwa Drive; the completion of the upgrade of many other vital road stretches in the ACT as part of the nation building black spot program; we have got 24 new road safety message signs; there is a heap of issues which this government has actually delivered. However, time, like your good self, Madam Assistant Speaker Le Couteur, does not permit me to go on boasting forever.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.26): I would like to take the opportunity to focus on the issues of water and energy, particularly in the infrastructure plan. I would like to focus on these because they will be important challenges in the year ahead. Whilst I understand that there are a number of processes that the government is working through at the moment, the infrastructure report does little to elaborate on those plans, except to say that we have a problem.

It has been pointed out to some extent already, but the infrastructure plan is largely a reiteration of where the ACT government is up to on a range of these issues rather than a forward-looking document that is strategically assembled to paint a picture for the future: where we will be in 10, 15, 20 and perhaps further years down the track.

In terms of climate change, we already have the government working on energy policy. We have the climate targets legislation set to come, and we have the next action plan under weathering the change. On water, we have the think water, act water strategy. There is a bunch of things going on, but, again, the point I would like to draw out in looking at these two issues in particular is that there is no sense of where we are trying to get to. There is very much a sense of “here is what we are doing now”, but to my mind there is a lack of overarching targets and a sense of where we want to be. I will pick up on a couple of specific examples in the document.

On water, I think it is fair to say that most of the water infrastructure is underway, and we have had quite some debates in this place about these issues already. Perhaps most famously, the government has chosen to invest heavily on behalf of ACT water users in constructing the new Cotter Dam, and the Greens have certainly been concerned about whether it is the most strategic and most cost-effective of the options, particularly once the higher price tag came through. I have often made the point that, while it is easy to open dams—although I think they thought it would be easier on this one—it is harder to put in place long-term measures to save water.

I think it is important to acknowledge here that Canberrans have shown a tremendous capability to conserve water in the last five years or so, and that has been quite impressive. But it is essential that a new dam not make us complacent about putting in place measures that will reduce our demand. It is something that we are going to need to do as we face the challenges of a growing population and the development of new suburbs.

I note that the paper does not really tackle the issue of non-potable water. I acknowledge that the government is already doing some work around the stormwater ponds, capturing water for reuse on ovals and irrigation of parks. I think that is a good


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