Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1963 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

now that it is in government I am very interested to hear about its plans for water supply and sewerage in the ACT.

MR WOOD (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for the Arts) (4.44): Mr Speaker, members will note that I have circulated amendments, and I will come to them in due course. The ACT has a long history of innovative and effective water resource management and water has always been recognised as a most valued resource. So it is very important to make the point that sustainable water management is a matter for this Assembly.

Recently I attended an historic meeting of the Murray-Darling Ministerial Council in Corowa on the River Murray to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first interstate discussions on cooperative management of the river. I was pleased to represent the ACT at the meeting, which made significant decisions about cooperative management of the Murray-Darling Basin. The council decided:

to spend $157 million to make better use of River Murray water available for the environment;

to engage the community in deciding how to provide environmental flows for the river;

to fund a comprehensive analysis of the economic, social and environmental impacts of providing environmental flows; and

set a deadline of October 2003 to decide on an environmental flow regime for the River Murray.

It is significant that for the first time in 100 years there was an acknowledgment and a decision taken that would lead to extraction from the river and its tributaries being lowered. All previous decisions indicated an increase in extractions. This decision, which acknowledged that there needs to be a decline, comes from the sorts of briefings that Ms Tucker referred to at which problems about salinity were expressed. Perhaps it is too little and it might be too late, but it is being recognised by ministers across the basin that action has to be taken.

Here in the ACT we have a range of measures aimed at encouraging efficient use of water and reducing impacts on water supply catchments. These measures include:

a two-part pricing regime for urban water through which consumers pay according to use;

a water abstraction charge on all water use is included in water charges. This charge is designed to encourage wise use of resources and takes account of catchment management costs, the scarcity value of water and the environmental costs of water supply and use;

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .