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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 October 2010) . . Page.. 4734 ..

full voting member of the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council. Minister, what involvement has the ACT government had in the development and implementation of the proposed plan?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mrs Dunne for her question. It is pleasing that we have finally got to a question about water security from the opposition. The government is working closely with its state and territory counterparts on issues surrounding the development of the Murray-Darling Basin plan. Members would be aware that the guide to the plan was released by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority just over a week ago. My department has been closely examining the assumptions that underpin the directions outlined by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority in its guide to the plan document.

In response directly to Mrs Dunne’s question, officials of my department are members of the senior officials group that meets with water officials from other state and territory governments, the commonwealth and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority. Through that process of ongoing dialogue we have been involved to a degree in the development of this document, but it is important to note that the document is, in effect, a creature of the authority. The authority has developed the document. The territory, as with all other basin states, has not been privy to all of its discussions and considerations prior to the release of the plan.

My officials received a briefing on the guide to the plan just prior—about 24 hours prior—to its public release. We will be following it up with more detailed discussions with basin authority officials at officer level. I also anticipate that there will be discussions between me, other basin state ministers, the commonwealth minister and the authority in the coming months as we work through this very important process of consultation.

The government remains committed to protecting the interests of the territory when it comes to the overall allocation available to us under the basin plan, when that plan is finally released in a draft form and obviously in the final plan when it is made by the commonwealth minister. We believe that the current guide as outlined by the basin authority does not have proper regard to the particular circumstances of the territory as the largest inland settlement entirely dependent on water supply in the basin. We believe that the cap that is proposed in the guide to the draft plan is inadequate. It does not have proper regard to growth. That needs to occur so that our city can have certainty about how it uses water and what water is available to it into the future. These are matters that we will be pursuing further with the authority and with the commonwealth.

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, given your low-key response since the release of the guide, is this an indication of the vigour with which you will pursue the interests of the ACT in future negotiations?

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