Page 1385 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 April 2005

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the rich experiences that I have been fortunate to have had have given me a broader perspective that I may not have had had I sought to stand earlier. I trust that other older Canberrans will also continue to contribute to our community by utilising the expertise that they have developed during their lives.

Earlier, I mentioned yesterday morning’s breakfast, at which we also celebrated organisations that were successful in seeking grants to seniors. As a consequence of these grants, 38 community organisations will undertake a variety of projects as diverse as our community itself. They include a project that will see primary age schoolchildren accompanying seniors to community events and another that will link younger people with older sufferers of arthritis to their mutual benefit. These are great examples of the way that both young and old can work together to enrich our lives.

Mr Speaker, again I congratulate the organisers of Seniors Week. I realise the amount of effort it takes to put on such a week. It takes a tremendous amount of effort and, no doubt, many voluntary hours. I congratulate them and I would encourage all members of the Assembly to attend as many of the events of Seniors Week as they are able to.

Environment—salinity treatment

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (6.10): Mr Speaker, two articles in today’s Canberra Times underline the importance of catchment management. The first, titled “ACT has work to do in salinity fight: audit”, reads:

The ACT is dragging its feet on efforts to wind back salinity damage, a key review has found.

The fight against the Murray-Darling basin is being hampered because of a lack of skills and staff, the review said … The audit group found the ACT and Queensland were dragging their feet on major efforts to reduce salinity, while South Australia had performed best and Victoria and NSW also rated relatively well.

The audit group, which reviews progress by the commission—

the Murray-Darling Commission—

on its basin-wide salinity strategy, presented its second review report to commission ministers last week.

One of the specific points that it made about the ACT was as follows:

The ACT was marked down on almost all fronts, with the group finding that the territory had made little headway in monitoring and implementing its catchment plans.

My office will be investigating the work being done in the ACT to counter salinity, as this problem is extremely expensive to deal with once land areas are affected. We live in a region where salinity is already proving to be a problem. Last year I did a tour with the institute of engineers of some sites, including one very small area where repair work had cost over $100,000. I think that these are costs that we should, as land managers, attempt to avoid.

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