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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4123 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

We need to determine if it is practical for the ACT to adopt a clear and unequivocal aim not to build a new dam for the water supply. We will ensure that the vital issue of water resources is addressed now, in partnership with the community, in a far-reaching engagement process aimed at setting clear directions for sustainable water management and preparing a long-term water resource strategy for the ACT.

I present the following statement:

Direction for sustainable water management-Development of a Water Resource Strategy for the ACT-Ministerial statement.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MS TUCKER (4.29): I would like to respond straightaway to this; it is not a very lengthy document. It is in response to a motion I put last Environment Day about six months ago.

To give credit, I am pleased that the government has committed to developing a strategy. I am rather concerned, though, that the Johannesburg summit's commitment to a plan of implementation that would result in some plans being set by 2005 is being referred to in the government's timetable here. Many of the countries that were participating in Johannesburg were facing incredibly difficult situations, and the length of time, even for the NGOs in some of those countries, was seen to be too long.

It is not necessary for Canberra to take that long to get such a strategy. It has to be ongoing anyway-educating the community and ensuring that all people living in Canberra are very conscious of not wasting water in their activities, whether residential, domestic, or commercial-and will have to continue. I am sorry that this document does not come up with harder initiatives right now.

For example, I was pleased to see the government offering rebates for water efficient showerheads last week, but an opportunity was lost there because the government could have also insisted at that time that all new developments and major refurbishments include water efficient showerheads.

I acknowledge that the minister has talked about the draft variation to the Territory Plan for north Gungahlin and that the government intend to bring water-sensitive urban design principles into that development. I give credit there.

However, we could be integrating requirements for saving water in a much more concrete way, right across planning in the ACT. We could be insisting on all new houses and developments-commercial, as well-having grey water systems, water tanks where appropriate and water efficient appliances. That could just happen now.

If people are going to argue that that is a burden on development or on purchases of houses or commercial facilities, then the argument in response to that is that you save money and you save energy. You save a lot of money by having water efficient appliances. It is not just about saving water; it is about the energy as well, particularly

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