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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (22 October) . . Page.. 3924 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

The money has been spread broadly across the Canberra community and I am pleased to advise members that the $11/2 million includes $123,000 to Belconnen and Gungahlin-based organisations, $318,000 to organisations based in inner-Canberra and $326,000 to organisations based in Tuggeranong and Weston Creek. In addition, all HACC-funded agencies will receive 21/2 per cent cost supplementation.

This significant commitment by the government is designed to improve access to aged care. It is a strong example of the government getting on and making an investment in building our community.

Mr Stanhope: Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Supplementary answers to questions without notice

Environmental flows

MR STANHOPE: On 25 September Mrs Dunne asked a question about current environmental flows in the ACT and surrounds for the Cotter and Molonglo rivers and about the long-term environmental impact of reduced environmental flows. I am happy to provide the following answer: the Cotter River system is currently on the drought decision of the Environment Protection Authority whereby the required environmental flow is equivalent to approximately 9.9 gigalitres per year. Lake Burley Griffin and Scrivener Dam environmental flow releases into the Molonglo River are under the regulatory control of the National Capital Authority.

Under territory regulations, environmental flows for rivers that are not within the water supply system, such as the Molonglo, have protection of both low flows and high or flushing flows. Limited extraction of low flows from the river is allowed and only 10 per cent of high flows are available for extraction. Consequently about 90 per cent of flow is maintained. The Cotter River has recognised environmental values, particularly downstream of the reservoirs. These values relate to the actual river habitats as well as the aquatic wildlife within the river. Reduced environmental flows can impact on the health of river systems, including aquatic ecology.

The impact of environmental flow reductions is dependent on the release strategy of the environmental flows. Environmental flows are continually monitored and adapted to ensure the health of the river. The monitoring project undertaken in the Cotter River indicates that variation of the reduced releases with programmed flushes has allowed for flushing of total sediments within the Cotter River and has restored the health of aquatic macro-invertebrates to equivalent levels to those in unregulated rivers. In this way, the reduction of the overall volume of environmental flows as a result of the drought has not impacted on the recognised environmental flows of the Cotter River.

Cooleman Ridge-grazing

MR STANHOPE: Yesterday Ms Tucker asked me the following question about Cooleman Ridge:

(1) In regard to the decision of Environment ACT to put cattle on Cooleman Ridge, my question is: can the Minister explain exactly why this decision

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