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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 3261 ..

MRS DUNNE: The minister has concluded his answer. I will ask a supplementary then. Minister, apart from consultation-as you maintain, rigorous consultation-what measures are you taking to reduce in-house water consumption?

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, at this stage the government has taken a number of steps, certainly in relation to reduction across the board of the use of water. At this stage the Canberra community is participating in water restrictions at level 2. There is a determination by us as a community to reduce overall consumption of water by 25 per cent-

Mrs Dunne: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: on the basis of relevance under standing order 118. Level 2 water restrictions do not relate in any way to inside water use.

MR SPEAKER: I think it goes to the issue of water use. I think it is in order for the Chief Minister to continue with his response.

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. It is a nonsense to suggest that although the Canberra community is currently participating in a regime of significant water restrictions, Canberra residents are not extending their commitment to that regime to water usage within the house. I know that I am in my household. Every single household that I know of is restricting or reducing the extent to which they use water both inside the house and outside the house. So to suggest "Oh well, it's stage 2 and stage 2 relates only to outside the house and therefore nobody is extending their cooperation as members of this community to the reduction of water inside the house"is just simply puerile and nonsensical.

At this stage, as we as a community have joined together and battled together to face the issues in relation to what might quite appropriately be regarded as a crisis in relation to water in the ACT, we have pursued a number of initiatives. One of them, of course, is a major education campaign in relation to the value of water and the scarcity of that resource. I do not think at any stage in the history of Canberra has there been such an acute debate and an acute awareness around just how valuable, scarce and rare water as a resource is and its importance to the continuing health of this community. So, in a broad sense, the government has engaged in a major education campaign.

We are engaged in a major consultative campaign. We have imposed level 2 restrictions. We have foreshadowed the prospect of level 3 restrictions, subject to rainfall. We have assessed and pursued a showerhead scheme and we have indicated that it does have some value in the reduction of water. We have issued a water policy and we are developing a water strategy. We have been quite clear in everything we have done in relation to the range of measures that we as a community need and will pursue to ensure sustainability into the future in relation to water within Canberra and the region.

We will develop a water strategy and we have promised to deliver that within the next six weeks. It will go to the extensive detail of the range of measures that we as community will need to commit to to address the major issues facing us as a community and Australia as a nation in relation to the scarcity of water within this community.

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