Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4124 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
with the use of hot water. COOOL communities, which I am sure Mr Wood is very familiar with, have a very clear analysis of how much money you can save if you have these efficiency measures in dwellings.
I feel disappointed that we did not see more hard action at this point because members of the community are particularly amenable now to having progressive changes made to our planning and building responses. People are very aware of the lack of water, and this would have been a very good opportunity to come in a little bit harder than the minister has done. That does not mean to say that it is not still possible, and I will be encouraging the government, while it is progressing a long-term strategy, to do more right now.
MRS DUNNE (4.34): Mr Speaker, I want to echo many of the comments made by Ms Tucker. This document is a disappointment because this motion was passed on 5 June, World Environment Day, and six months later the minister came into this place, not with a water strategy but with the directions for finding a water strategy. I think we have let the opportunity of the current crisis we are facing in the ACT slip by on this occasion.
Mr Wood says that, by and large, members of the Canberra community are very environmentally aware. But in the next breath he says they are not aware of the importance of water conservation, because for many years they have been lulled into what he calls-and I agree with him here-"a false sense of security"because of having large supplies of very high-quality fresh water. As a result of that, the people of Canberra, all of us in this place and elsewhere, have not been vigilant enough about maintaining and husbanding that resource.
Until the introduction of voluntary water restrictions, the highest quality potable water in this country was being pumped through the Captain Cook water jet because it was more convenient to do so than otherwise. Our fountains and pools are fed by the highest quality potable water in this country, but in the directions for a strategy there is a compete lack of innovation, inspiration and leadership.
It talks in the document about engaging the community, but there is nothing in this document that actually engages with the community. People in the ACT are not water aware, as people would be in, say, South Australia. As a result of that, we are being left behind.
We have talked here about innovation in water management for stormwater and waste water in North Gungahlin, but we are being left behind by the sort of development you see conducted by Salisbury City Council, which Ms Dundas and I visited during public works committee meetings in Adelaide recently. The sort of innovation you see in Adelaide, where people are acutely aware of water-quality issues, will leave us for dead. It is time we girded our loins and started to do something about it.
Six months after this motion was passed, we now have a quaint slogan-and it is a very quaint slogan-and an imperative to engage the community. But nothing, not even this quaint slogan, will engage the community. In the next few months, leading up to the introduction of the International Year of Freshwater, there is a huge challenge for this government to start to do more than it is currently doing. At the moment it is doing very little.