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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3876 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

People have spent many thousands of dollars establishing gardens and adding to the general character of the city. Many have included very efficient watering systems that they are now unable to use, even though these systems are more efficient than the hand-held hoses now permitted if those people who wish to use hoses do so for lengthy periods, which more often than not is unlikely.

Other have established Australian native-style gardens with eucalyptus chips as cover. These people are now told that their gardens are a higher risk in bushfire terms. They are in a catch-22 situation. Many are worried about the possible loss of the ambience of their neighbourhoods, with many shrubs and larger trees dying or showing signs of severe stress.

It is time to assess the water usage in this dry city, but let's not throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. Let's instead use the bathwater, the shower water, the dishwashing water and the clothes washing water on the gardens and keep the greenery we love and the trees we cherish alive in Canberra. Let's have a no water waste target by 2015. Let's not sit around debating whether it should be 2010 or 2015; let's just say 2015, which would give us at least 12 years to put something into action, and let's take it seriously.

The executive of this place are not in an easy position on this one. They have had to impose water restrictions, which I have found to be absolutely necessary. In fact, recently I hosted a dinner at which one of the ministers of this place was attacked by one of the guests who was very unhappy that she could not use her watering system on her garden, even though she claimed that her watering system was a water efficient watering system.

I know that this does not happen often, but I truly felt sorry for the minister at this dinner because we have to give the government an opportunity to trial the water restrictions as they are. If we find that they do not work, something else has to be tried, but at least something has to be tried. Following the severe bushfires of January, knowing that we had a water problem and given that no-one has presented a more ideal solution than we have at present, let's try the existing restrictions and see how they go, but let's also set a no waste by 2015 target.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: The discussion is concluded.


Motion (by Mr Quinlan ) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Bushfires-hazard reduction

MRS DUNNE (4.36): During question time today, the Chief Minister accused me of blatant hypocrisy with respect to hazard reduction burning and Oakey Hill. He also referred to the period when I was an adviser to the previous minister for the environment, Mr Humphries. I resent the accusation of hypocrisy. My position is quite simple. Listen and take note, Chief Minister.

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