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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3933 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

We have noted the recommendation in relation to the inclusion of a definition of "sleeping rough" in the supported accommodation assistance program. Changes to the definitions would require amendments to the Commonwealth legislation, as well as to the agreements with every state and territory.

It is clear that tackling the complex issue of homelessness will require a determined effort on the part of the government. I am confident that, through enhancing our partnership arrangements with community agencies, we can rise to this challenge. I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the committee members-Mr Hargreaves, Ms Dundas and Mrs Cross-and the many community organisations which contributed to the inquiry. I hope they were able to capture and focus this heightened enthusiasm for addressing homelessness issues, into a cooperative and client-focused effort to reduce the tragic loss of housing which too many of our fellow Canberrans experience.

I commend the government response to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Water restrictions

Ministerial statement

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections): Mr Speaker, I ask for leave of the Assembly to make a ministerial statement concerning the introduction of a scheme for water restrictions in the ACT.

Leave granted.

MR QUINLAN: The ACT, along with the rest of the country, is facing severe drought conditions under what is known as the El Nino effect.

The foresight of the builders of the national capital resulted in the provision of four high-quality reservoirs. However, even these dams are coming under real pressures to supply our water needs with the current levels of usage. Our water storage is falling at the rate of 1 per cent per week and we have now moved to 59 per cent of capacity. The community has been responsive to calls for restricted water usage, but more must be done to ensure security of supply for the foreseeable future.

My colleague Mr Bill Wood, as minister responsible for water resources, and I have today signed the Utilities (Water Restrictions) Regulations 2002 and the Magistrates Court (Utilities Infringement Notice) Regulations 2002, to give legislative effect to the comprehensive regime for managing water use in times of limited supply.

For the information of members, I present an advance copy of these regulations, which come into effect from midnight tonight. The Utilities (Water Restrictions) Regulations 2002 enable me, as the responsible minister, to approve a water restriction scheme, developed by Actew in consultation with the ACT Environment Protection Authority.

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