Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 5 August 2021) . . Page.. 2340 ..
Plans for stage 2 research and water monitoring are focused on narrowing down the sources and quantum of pollution so that infrastructure can be sited where it is the most cost-effective. Water quality models will be upgraded to be more accurate and to take into account the measured performance of recently constructed water quality assets. This will allow for comprehensive catchment plans to be developed for urban lakes and ponds, as well as some rural catchments. The plans will detail various options—actions, assets and their locations—available to government to manage Canberra’s water pollution problems, and their associated costs and benefits. Therefore the government is working to build on the achievements of stage 1 of Healthy Waterways, both for the benefit of the environment and for the wellbeing of Canberra’s residents and businesses that make use of waterways.
As the recent and comprehensive Dasgupta review of the economics of biodiversity emphasises, environmental health is not an alternative to economic health but a contributor to it. The Dasgupta review is an independent, global review of the economics of biodiversity led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, who is the Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Cambridge. The review was commissioned in 2019 by the British Treasury and has been supported by an advisory panel drawn from public policy, science, economics, finance and business interests.
Healthy catchments produce clean water, which benefits not only aquatic flora and fauna but all those who rely on our lakes and ponds, including businesses and the community. This information highlights the strong correlation that the Healthy Waterways initiative has with the wellbeing domains—namely, environment and climate, social connection, and living standards, respectively.
The cost-benefit analysis of the original Healthy Waterways initiative shows the program has present-value benefits of $127 million and present-value costs of $76 million. Sensitivity analyses indicate that the net present value ranges from $24 million to $126 million and the benefit-cost ratio ranges from 1.3 to 2.6. These results indicate that the program is economically viable, as the benefits of the program outweigh the costs.
I commend to the Assembly the achievements of the Healthy Waterways initiative and congratulate the small, dedicated team at EPSDD who delivered this work. I present the following paper:
Healthy waterways for better urban lakes and ponds—Ministerial statement, 5 August 2021.
That the Assembly take note of the paper.
MS CASTLEY (Yerrabi) (10.13): I am pleased to respond to the minister’s statement, as it is important to ensure that our Canberra waterways are healthy, which we know is not currently the case in some areas. We can do better, and we must. I want to take