Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 22 February 2018) . . Page.. 586 ..
Justice and Community Safety, and that these provisions are permissible and reasonable limitations. Still, it may be a case of “wait and see” to see how these changes are managed by this government. It will be vital to see that there is a balanced approach between the rights and responsibilities of water users and community stakeholders.
Another issue which has not been clarified by these amendments is that the additional activity or recreational use of lakes still requires ministerial approval. I will be monitoring the way the process for permits and the parameters used to make these decisions are communicated to the public.
Further aspects that I believe need to be highlighted—and this goes back to my love of water sports and recreation—are the restrictions placed on the types of boats and the maximum speeds allowed on Canberra’s lakes. This legislation enhances water use on one hand by allowing electric powered boats to operate without a permit if they travel at less than 10 knots, but it also restricts water access for other powered boats. A powered boat can be operated on a lake if it is not a personal watercraft such as a jetski and it does not exceed 10 knots. This excludes a wide variety of vessels whilst also placing an arbitrary speed limit on powered boats that are allowed to operate. This move is disappointing since water users are forced to rely on ministerial discretion for permits and authorisation.
There is another worrying aspect to these amendments. The minister can make these changes to the rules covering speed limits and the types of boats simply by placing a sign on the edge of the lake. This does not seem sufficient in terms of engagement and communication. I hope that the government will be more proactive and engage effectively with water users and their organisations.
It also seems very strange that as part of these amendments the government has decided to target particular water users. Section 43(a), covering waterskiing and other recreational activities, singles out wakeboarders and wake surfers. I would like to point out to the government that there are many other types of recreational water users. These can be grouped under the previous statement relating to “any person being towed by a boat on or over the water”. I hope that there is no other reason to single out this narrow group of water users apart from the fact that the government does not understand the types and needs of lake users.
As an avid fan of water sports, I believe that there is a place for greater access to and use of our waterways by a broad range of stakeholders. But I also believe that this must be done with proper consultation and consideration of all lake users and other representative organisations.
Again, I will be watching with great interest to gauge the impact of these amendments, and I will continue to liaise with water sports and fishing organisations in the ACT to provide them with a voice and to represent their interests.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (11.00): The Greens will support the overhauling of this outdated legislation. The government have assured us that they