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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 October 2010) . . Page.. 4793 ..


In this little historical table, which is part 1(a) of Mr Corbell’s amendment, we see just how changeable the rules are and have been in relation to stage 1 water restrictions. We see that we first went to stage 1 water restrictions; that is, some water restrictions—stage 1 no longer exists in that form—at 56.3 per cent of storage levels. Then we went to stage 2 at 44.3 per cent. We went to stage 3, according to Mr Corbell’s little table—my memory does not serve me that well—at 52.3 per cent in October 2003. In March 2004, we went back to stage 2. It went up and down. Stage 3 was at 47 per cent. We went back to stage 2 at 50 per cent. We went to stage 1 water conservation measures in 2005 when we introduced the first version of stage 1 water conservation measures at 63 per cent. Then it goes on. We continued with different permanent water conservation measures at 56 per cent, then to stage 2 at 45 per cent, to stage 3 at 40 per cent.

But this year, after all this drought, it took us until 66 per cent to go back to stage 2, and 87 per cent today to go back to permanent water conservation measures. That shows that there is a very inconsistent approach to this. There is no policy guidance. And the point that I have made in these remarks today and elsewhere is that we actually need much more policy guidance and much clearer indicators and easily understood and acceptable descriptions and reasons for why we do things under water restriction regimes at various stages.

You might say at stage 3, “We are moving into stage 3 because,” and we need to say, “Use only x amount of water or only use y amount of water because.” We need to articulate and communicate with the community so that the community will embrace this policy and put it into practice. It is not for the government, it is not for some agency, to put this policy into practice. It is for individuals across the community to put it into practice. They have to be on board and they have to understand why.

I think it is most unfortunate that, in the attorney’s intent to throw out everything because they were the words suggested by the Liberal Party, he has thrown out this important measure. I think the issue of trigger points is very important and I notice that Mr Rattenbury has some words in relation to trigger points as well. They are slightly different words and I am not going to quibble over the words.

I think that we have quite a difficult way forward here, just technically, because there are so many sets of amendments flying around. In hindsight, the parties might have sat down and talked earlier in the day about how we might have had a better way forward. We are going to have to either adjourn this and come back to it or fly by the seat of our pants and probably come up with an ungrammatical hotchpotch as a result.

I would at this stage keep an open mind on whether or not to support Mr Corbell’s amendment but perhaps, as there is no-one else here to move to the next item, we cannot really adjourn it either. I think I am getting the nod around the room that we should proceed and try not to mess it up too much as we go along.

I think that Mr Corbell’s amendment is useful. Some of the stuff in it is useful but there is stuff that has been thrown out. I think that what we are going to do is probably pass Mr Corbell’s amendment and then come back and re-amend some shape into it, which is a pretty unfortunate way of going about it.


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