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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (29 April) . . Page.. 129 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

Mr Humphries regretted that I had not taken a briefing. He did not hear Mr Moore say that I was well informed on the matter. But let me come back to, I think, a key point - again, to use some words that Mr Humphries did. He was talking about which side of the fence we are on. I think that on this issue we are all on the one side of the fence. There is no fence. We are all together in this, and we want to get this resolved. All people want to get it resolved quickly. So, let us move down that path. I thank you again for your support.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


MS TUCKER (11.41): I move:

That this Assembly calls on the Government to make a submission to the Snowy Water Inquiry, putting forward a strong case for the need to improve environmental flows in the Rivers in the area of inquiry, particularly the Snowy River and the Upper Murrumbidgee River.

The Snowy water inquiry was established recently as a result of a decision by the New South Wales, Victorian and Commonwealth governments as part of the move towards corporatising the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme. This inquiry presents the ACT Government with a unique opportunity to have an input to planning the future environmental management of the rivers in this region. I have already written to the Minister for Urban Services, Brendan Smyth, calling on the Government to make a submission to this inquiry. I will be speaking, firstly, about why I believe the ACT Government should make a submission to this inquiry and then, secondly, about the position I believe the ACT Government should take.

The ACT is in the upper catchment of the Murray-Darling Basin, the largest drainage basin in Australia. The Molonglo River is a major contributor to the catchment of the Murrumbidgee River. As the largest inland city and the largest urban centre in the Upper Murrumbidgee catchment, we have a major responsibility to ensure that we manage the rivers within our borders appropriately. We must also work with bordering governments as far as the environmental management of the river system is concerned. I am sure other members share this view.

In 1996, when he was a Federal member of parliament, Brendan Smyth called on the ACT Government to be more proactive in working with other governments to take greater care of the region's water resources. Since that time the ACT has become a full member of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission. The recently released ACT Murrumbidgee River Corridor management plan states quite clearly that management of the corridor cannot be divorced from river management in New South Wales. In that report, the Government said that they were committed to "effective cooperation with authorities responsible for catchment approach to management within and outside the ACT". Obviously, the ACT has a clear responsibility to participate in any forum, debate or inquiry on the management of river systems in this region.

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