Page 2821 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 17 August 2005

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Mr Smyth: He has to be at least relevant, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Resume your seat. There is no point of order.

MR STANHOPE: What the innovation, the lateral thinking, the engineering skill of Actew confirm, other than the extent to which it is on top of its brief, is the extent to which Mrs Dunne and the Liberals are so hopelessly marooned on the question of a dam. I think we all recall, we all well remember, the Liberals’ promise prior to the last election that if they won the election they would start the construction of a dam in a day. I still remember the speech: “The day after the election we will start work on a Tennent dam.”

MR SPEAKER: Order! The minister’s time has expired.

MRS DUNNE: I have a supplementary question. What steps are you taking to address the sudden fall in the productivity of the Googong catchment, or do you believe that you are just a victim of nature and can do nothing about it? Will you amend the water resources management plan to reflect the actual state of the Googong catchment?

MR STANHOPE: In other words: minister, what are you going to do to make it rain? We are not going to engage in cloud seeding. We have actually considered that. We are not going to engage in cloud seeding. I am not going to order Actew, ActewAGL and my colleagues out for a rain dance. We are not going to do that. I know that around the nation from time to time there are prayer meetings. I know that prayer meetings are instituted from time to time for rain. I must say that I respect that as a possibility, but I believe in the separation of the state and the church. I will not be asking my colleagues or the Assembly to begin to pray for rain. We will not cloud seed, we will not rain dance and I will not, out of respect for the separation of the church and the state, actually ask ActewAGL to begin to pray.

Mr Quinlan: Legislate.

MR STANHOPE: We might legislate for rain! We will legislate for rain! I would welcome any other suggestion on how we might induce more rain to fall into the catchment. We can go through other options. This is a time for lateral thinking. This is a time for us to think long and hard about what I, the Minister for the Environment, can do to get more water to fall into the catchment.

One thing we can do is fully support ActewAGL in the very sensible, innovative, practical and workable solution of transferring excess water from one catchment to the next. That is what we are doing, at the moment to the tune of 20 megalitres a day and in eight weeks time to the tune of 150 megalitres a day. That is outside Actew’s preferred option in its study of our future water potential of the need for a pipeline and a pump from Angle Crossing to Googong.

That is over and above the recommendation that came in the report that the government is yet to respond to, an opportunity or a capacity to double the daily movement of water, in the one instance from the catchment to the dam and in the other from the river system to the dam, with suggestions by Actew that even with just the reticulation option the transfer of water from the Cotter, excess water, water well below or beneath our

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