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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (12 November) . . Page.. 3429 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

What can your government do to ensure that the PID is there? We won't get full disclosure unless that whistleblower legislation applies right back to when these events allegedly occurred.

MR STANHOPE: I will have to take that question on notice, Ms Tucker. I was not aware of any suggestion that there should be no retrospectivity in the decision by the university to accept the application of the act. I would have to take some specific advice on that; I am afraid I do not have the answer. I am happy to do that and to respond to you.

Water restrictions

MS MacDONALD: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services, Mr Wood. Minister, given the dry situation around the ACT at present, what measures is the government taking in relation to limiting water usage in parks and public places?

MR WOOD: It is certainly dry; we all know that. The Department of Urban Services is probably the city's biggest user of water and is a very public and visible user of water. It has the view-I think, properly-that it needs to demonstrate some leadership.

On a slightly different matter: I launched the stop the drop campaign recently. That is something that Actew is pushing very strongly and is just one of the measures at the moment.

All irrigated areas of open space have been assessed and prioritised so that water use can be progressively reduced if, and when, conditions become worse. Irrigation on ACT government sports grounds is already managed by highly sophisticated, computer-based technology, introduced by an enlightened minister for the environment about 10 years ago-in that era. That resulted in water savings of over 20 per cent. This system, known as Comtrol, provides conservative and precise water management.

Most other areas of parkland do not use this technology but, through careful setting of irrigation controllers, savings can be achieved. I also point out that these are public lands, and not infrequently the sprinklers and other gear can be damaged and messed around. There is constant vigilance to see that the system is working well.

At the moment, given the particular situation-which does not look like getting better for some time-the Department of Urban Services have decided to immediately implement "level 1 reductions", as they call them, which provide for a 5 per cent reduction in use in all areas under its management, to demonstrate a commitment to conservative water use.

I also point out, of course, that some of the most obvious sprinklers are under the control of the National Capital Authority.

Mr Cornwell: When is this taking effect, Minister?

MR WOOD: It is happening.

Mr Cornwell: It certainly wasn't on 3 and 6 November.

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