Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 3099 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
I can see, however, that there are aspects of this Bill that are worthy of support. Greater controls over the use of ground water are welcome, as is the development of a water resource management plan. Clarification of the rights and responsibilities relating to water users is also important.
I have therefore prepared a number of amendments to the Bill to remove all references to establishing a water market, leaving the control of water to be handled solely by the proposed licensing system. I think that such a regulatory system will work much more effectively in achieving the noble objectives of the Bill. I will talk about these amendments more fully when we get to the detail stage.
MR OSBORNE (4.35): In considering the importance that this Bill has to the people of the ACT, I believe that we need to firstly consider a brief overview of the Territory's historical association with water. The Australian Capital Territory had its beginning back in 1849 when a member of the Privy Council suggested to the governors of our fledgling nation that one of their number ought to become the Governor of Australia. It was very nice of them, to recommend that for one another. The vital part of that role would then be the authority to convene what was eventually to become our Federal Parliament. As this idea took hold in subsequent years a political tug-of-war developed between New South Wales and Victoria as to which of them would become the national capital. Progress towards the decision on the location of the capital was slow, due to the depth of bad feeling that these two had for each other.
Around that time in the 1850s, Victorians were commonly referred to by New South Welshmen as inhabiting a cabbage garden in the south, and that its people were to be mistrusted for they were guilty of treason, having seceded from New South Wales. Real progress only came about due to the alarm caused by German and French expansion in the Pacific and the completion of the Sydney to Melbourne railway in 1883. By the end of the century all six colonies had voted in favour of a Federal Constitution Bill, with reference to a site for the national capital being somewhere in New South Wales and at least 100 miles from Sydney.
Mr Deputy Speaker, once this Bill had been passed into law the search for a site for the new capital city began in earnest. As could be expected, many potential sites were suggested. There were so many, in fact, that one MP commented at the time that the Government "found itself in the position of a bridal couple returning from their honeymoon to be overwhelmed by enterprising real estate agents with offers of eligible sites for their home".
Choosing the site proved to be difficult and took nine years in total. It originally took some time before the men charged with the selection decided what they should be looking for, but they settled upon three general criteria. Firstly, the site needed to be easily accessible to both Sydney and Melbourne via their rail link. This excluded all sites north of the Sydney to Bourke railway. Secondly, climate - well, they got that wrong - and topography were considered to be important factors as it was widely accepted at the time that cooler climates produced more robust and healthy people who were less susceptible to rebellion. I wish I could say that about Mr Rugendyke. At that time James Edmund of The Bulletin wrote: