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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 6 December 2011) . . Page.. 5717 ..


ACT that meets our needs for the short and medium terms. This is a very important recognition by the MDBA and one that I am very pleased to endorse in this place.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, what process of negotiations did you and your officials enter into with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to secure this outcome?

MR CORBELL: I would encourage those opposite to be a little bit more magnanimous about this issue. They were the ones—indeed Mrs Dunne was the one—that said, “Let’s work together on this issue; let’s adopt a cooperative approach on this issue.” And we get a good outcome and all they can do is harp and criticise. But that is the sort of commentary we have come to expect from those opposite.

The types of processes that the ACT entered into to secure this very important outcome have involved, as I have said previously, extensive negotiation between me and the chair of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Mr Knowles, as well as a series of meetings with the federal environment minister, Mr Burke. In addition to that the ACT through its officials has participated in the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s basin plan working group, a technical group consulting on the chapters of the draft basin plan. This group has engaged in intensive consultation over the last five months on the drafting instructions that have formed the basin plan as a legislative instrument.

The ACT has also participated in the commonwealth basin plan strategy working group which deals with the overall implementation aspects covering not only the basin plan but also the supporting commonwealth government policies and programs that will bridge the gap between the baseline diversion limits and the sustainable diversion limits to be set out in the final basin plan. Importantly, through our participation in these working groups we have been able to ensure that the MDBA is reliant on the latest data when it comes to water use in the territory. This was a problem in the guide to the plan and resulted in a series of factual errors in the data and therefore the assumptions used. In particular, the government has been able to highlight that we are the most responsible water user in the basin; that we use approximately 35 gigalitres—(Time expired.)

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: Minister, as there have been some reports that the ACT has been unfairly rewarded at the expense of irrigators downstream, is this outcome unfair, and is it likely that the outcome you have secured for the ACT will change in the final report?

MR CORBELL: Nothing is certain until the instrument is presented to the federal parliament and the federal parliament makes its decision as to whether or not it will agree to or disallow the proposed plan. That is the way the commonwealth legislation operates. But I have every confidence that the ACT has put a very strong case. It is not the case that the ACT is being unfairly rewarded. In fact, what we are seeing is a proposal that recognises that the ACT is the most efficient user of water in the basin, that our per capita water use is the lowest in the basin and that we return over half of


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