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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 September 2010) . . Page.. 4303 ..

of this kind was in early 2002. With further rainfall predicted over coming months and an already wet catchment primed to receive inflows, we could continue to see good increases. There is a good chance that we will see levels around 80 per cent some time towards the end of this year.

Rainfall for September at the Canberra airport has been 65.4 millimetres; the historic average is 52. This year we have received 548 millimetres at the Canberra airport, which is above the expected average to the end of September of 436 millimetres. So we are certainly seeing a wet spring, and, indeed, we had a wet winter. That is a positive thing for our water catchments.

Over the last 15 years, our average inflow levels have decreased by 50 per cent, and in the four years since 2006, the average reduction has been more than 70 per cent. So this is definitely a recovery year for our storages following the last four years, which were severely dry.

The Cotter remains our most productive catchment. The three dams within that catchment, including, of course, the Cotter Dam, which is being enlarged, will take advantage of this level of rain productivity. We expect, with the increase in the Cotter catchment through the expansion of the Cotter Dam, to better capture that very reliable source of water. Water restrictions were eased from stage 2 to stage 1 in September.

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: In relation to the expanded Cotter Dam, minister, the ICRC has reviewed the costings, which came out while we were in the break, and has questioned the prudence of the expanded Cotter Dam at $363 million. What is your response to the ICRC’s finding, with particular reference to the CIE analysis of the net economic benefit?

MR CORBELL: The government’s response is that we believe there is no room to take risks when it comes to water security for Canberra and the region. That is our response: there is no room for any risk when it comes to ensuring water security for Canberra and the region. Therefore, whilst some of the assumptions believe that there should be a higher level of risk and believe that that should be built into the economic analysis—that is, take the chance that we will see drier periods and we will have to see our water catchments decline to lower levels—that is not a risk that the government is prepared to take. We take a zero risk approach on this issue. Water security is too important an issue to view it in any other way.

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, a supplementary question.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, will the Chief Minister’s proposed artwork for the dam wall come within the $363 million budget or will that be an overrun?

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