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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1054 ..


The project was extended in the 2019-20 mid-year budget, where $1 million was committed to continue research into waste to combat outbreaks of algal blooms in the lake, fix a malfunctioning gross pollutant trap and trial new infrastructure to prevent nutrient pollution from entering stormwater during large storms. An additional $1.538 million has been committed by the government in this budget to complete some remaining capital works and to fund experimental floating wetlands in Lake Tuggeranong, which Mr Davis spoke about. An extension of the ACT Healthy Waterways program, the Clean Catchments, Clean Waterways program, will seek additional funding in the 2021-22 budget.

Ms Lawder will be pleased to hear that the Healthy Waterways assets intercept approximately 1,900 tonnes of pollutants from entering our waterways, including 1,885 tonnes of sediments, 14 tonnes of nitrogen and 2.5 tonnes of phosphorus. Ms Lawder also asked about the independent review. She may have noticed that a couple of weeks ago Minister Vassarotti and I announced that we have commissioned the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment to undertake a review of the ACT’s urban waterways that will include the three main lakes and also the various streams and other water bodies across the city.

This is a follow-on from the review commissioned 10 years ago as a result of a motion that I moved in this Assembly to have the commissioner do the first urban lakes and waterways study. It is an entirely appropriate time to have that second review, both in light of it being 10 years since the first but also the significant work done in that intervening period to assess the current state of the lakes and waterways and to look at the measures that have been taken, to learn from those and provide recommendations for future actions.

I very much look forward to the outcome of that investigation by the commissioner. The report 10 years ago was seminal in setting new directions, and this second report will be an important moment for us to reflect on how much we have achieved and what the next steps need to be.

Other extensive work is going on: the government has commissioned the University of Canberra to look extensively at Lake Tuggeranong, recognising the particular problems of that water body, to identify the specific sources of pollution in the Tuggeranong catchment so that we can further get a handle on the situation in Lake Tuggeranong.

In terms of the mesocosms, the plastic and metal structures Ms Lawder referred to, they were left in the lake this year because there were aspirations to undertake further research, but they will be removed in the near future. The team are onto that now. We have just seen two examples of members of the opposition ill-informedly attacking scientific research. Those mesocosms are there for a very specific reason—to look at the measures that can be taken in Lake Tuggeranong. I am sorry Ms Lawder finds them a little unsightly. I have seen them; they are only a couple of metres wide in a large lake body.

Opposition members interjecting—


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