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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (29 April) . . Page.. 137 ..

MS TUCKER (12.14), in reply: Thank you, all members, for your support. A couple of interesting points have arisen. Mr Humphries talked about use of water by industry being relative to industry's economic performance. The other question is the sustainability of practices. I note that the 1991 Victorian State of the Environment Report estimated that 30 per cent of the State's irrigated land was salinised. It is really a joke that this is something that we want to argue for. If people are arguing for that, it has to be strongly pointed out that this is not a sustainable form of agriculture, that we are suffering the effects of irrigation and that we need to look at different ways to use the land in this country. It is an important issue that needs serious debate.

Mr Berry was concerned that we might look silly not understanding the repercussions of the sort of request that my motion calls for. With all due respect, I have done a lot of work on it - and I think the Government has, by the look of it - and these are not unresearched claims. The recommendation to increase flow to at least 28 per cent of the original flow, with the possibility of an extra 10 to 15 per cent, has come from scientists. I would definitely like to be part of the development of the Government's submission. I want to urge you, though, to put very strong focus on the Snowy, because I believe we have to see ourselves as part of this region. We would like to see our neighbours do that, so we need to advocate for them as well on this issue.

Mr Berry was concerned about hydro-electricity. He was sounding like an opponent of this proposal. I had a few responses to anyone who might oppose the proposal. It came from the shadow Minister for the environment. That is an obvious retort that people can make and there is an obvious response to that. You cannot use those kinds of arguments if we do not put energy into looking at other forms of energy. That is the argument being used around the world to try to dam areas, with huge repercussions for people and the environment. There are also very interesting questions of greenhouse gas emissions coming from damming because of the rotting down of material. While that would not happen with the Snowy now, it is not an argument that holds a lot of water - excuse the pun - when we are talking about dams and energy and how clean energy is.

I would like to be involved with the submission. The Labor Party obviously would too. It would be great if we could agree and be quite strong about the flow increase we want. You could then say that this was the unanimous view of this Assembly.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (12.18): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make an additional remark.

Leave granted.

MR SMYTH: It is in regard to Mr Hargreaves's inquiries about the dilemma for the Gudgenby. It is not a well river, simply because of the drought. I am told that no water is taken from the Gudgenby for agricultural purposes. Until we get significant rain that gives us run-off into the river system, there is not a great deal any of us can do for the Gudgenby.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Sitting suspended from 12.18 to 2.30 pm

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