Page 754 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 9 March 2005

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is the case—that a lot of these scientists spoke out early on and cannot be accused of sitting on their knowledge and waiting until now. Of course, in the process of creating a committee response, we see some people prevailing over others. That is what happens. Nonetheless it is really important, in the interests of transparency and accountability, that we have all the reports that made up that final decision available to us.

Another concern raised was the fragmented management regime for this piece of land. A number of authorities are involved: ACT Forests, ACT Health, ACT Environment and Actew. I may have left others out. To me, this points to the need for a catchment authority that brings all this information together and has the interests of the catchment at heart, not all those other things. It is great that ACT Health is looking after our health, that the water is being monitored and that Actew cares about and wants to manage our water supply, but people have their own fragmented interests. They need to draw them together in one body. I think this could be part of an upper Murrumbidgee catchment authority that the Greens have been calling for for some time.

I would like to know how much has been spent on developing the options for water supply. We are down to three now, but is this catchment not part of our water supply? We are demurring about the costs of managing it for that, and yet we are prepared to put I do not know how many dollars into a consideration that may lead to yet another water supply and another catchment. I think it is ridiculous.

I am wondering, too, if the decision to plant seedlings now is based on the fact that we have a million and a half pine seedlings that were purchased last year and not planted because we have been in drought. Suddenly, it becomes imperative to plant them. If I were a land manager of this land, I would say that this would be the worst time because it is dry, the soil is in bad condition and a huge proportion of the seedlings will die. If we continue with this pine planting option we will be replacing those later on too when the weather and conditions are right. They are not right now. Even if I did agree with the pine planting option, I would be saying, “Don’t do it now.”

We need to get the best scientific advice—the best advice about all kinds of things; it is not just scientific, I agree with you there—to put a priority on managing this catchment. I cannot say what is the best way to manage it; I would say that different parts of it require different kinds of management. There may be a place for pines somewhere but not as part of a commercial industry—that is an old option.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member’s time has expired.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.13): Thank you, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker. How delightful it is to see you in the chair, sir.

Mrs Dunne: He is Deputy Speaker. Get the term right!

MR HARGREAVES: You are Deputy Speaker; I stand corrected.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is okay.

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