Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 5281 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
practice has now been temporarily halted, but we have not heard whether the government is going to commission a study on ACT groundwater, which has been recommended by the Commissioner for the Environment for several years running. Bore water did not rate a mention in the government's recent draft water strategy, which was also disappointing because it plays a very important part in our environment. We need to have more information about our groundwater-whether it is flowing into the Molonglo and whether it is a quick-refilling aquifer or a slow-refilling aquifer. Until recently the government has allowed people to sink bores and use the water without considering the ongoing impacts.
I am glad to see that the government has halted the automatic granting of bore licences, but I think it needs to progress and give us the information we need. We would then be better informed to make decisions and would not have to ask the community inane questions such as whether they have been able to access the report. We should be bringing community ideas on board and working to make the environment better for everybody in the territory.
MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (4.49): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to speak on this very important issue. I was delighted to be in my office when the media service provided me with a copy of the Chief Minister's press release about this very debate. It appeared even before the debate had started. You know you have struck a nerve when the Chief Minister lashes out with a press release which goes on for two full pages about the achievements of the government and the government's commitment to the environment being beyond reproach, which is how it is headed, beyond censure and beyond criticism. Beyond belief would be more like it.
With the arrogance embodied in that statement they say that they have done everything possible, that they have achieved everything that you can, and that everything they have done is beyond reproach, which we all know is not true because we all know that there is so much more to be done. As you wander through the two-page press release that the Chief Minister put out, it is interesting to note the things for which he claims credit. Paragraph 5 on the second page says:
We lead Australia in the sophistication of our sewage treatment system. We have been recognised as a model of best practice stormwater management. The quality of water leaving the ACT meets the highest standards.
The plant that meets the highest standards has been there for about 35 years and the Chief Minister is actually claiming credit for the Stanhope Labor government for the work that has been done over the last 35 years. The arrogance of that statement is just incredible. That he would have the gall to put out such a thing is beyond belief.
It is quite interesting to look at some of the other claims. The press release states:
The Woodlands Strategy is an example of best practice in environmental management. That is, management based on science, knowledge and planning.
But the press statement is a little disjointed, because it goes on to say: