Page 2849 - Week 09 - Thursday, 27 September 2007

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(1) Are departments expected to find funds from their own budget when they are faced with unexpected rent rises;

(2) Does the Government provide supplementary funds to ensure programs are not cut;

(3) Will Environment ACT have to cut programs to meet the cost of its doubled rent; if so, is the Government concerned about the implications for environmental management in the ACT.

Mr Stanhope: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) Departmental running costs including rent are normally met through their annual budget. Budgets are reviewed each year and adjusted to take into account expected rises in costs for the coming financial year. However, additional funding can be sought from Treasury for large unexpected increases in costs.

(2) In this case, supplementary funds will not be required and programs will not be cut. The Research and Monitoring Unit of Parks, Conservation and Lands (previously known as Environment ACT) is based at the CSIRO site on the Barton Highway. CSIRO are proposing to increase the annual rental cost by 50%, the first rental increase for the unit since 1998.

(3) The rent increase of $30K per year is a small fraction of the overall budget allocated for environmental programs by the ACT Government and it will not impact on the Government’s commitment to environmental management programs in the ACT.

(Question No 1643)

Dr Foskey asked the Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, upon notice, on 22 August 2007:

Is it the case that a person can shower all day and install a pool while gardens may only be watered by hand between 7pm and 10pm.

Mr Stanhope: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

The ACT Government through its current water efficiency initiatives is committed to working with ACT residents to become water wise. While it is true that under the current initiatives Canberrans can for instance shower all day, it is simply common sense that they would not.

The targets set for reductions in water consumption through the Governments Think water, act water strategy are providing savings that will see these targets achieved if not bettered by 2013 and 2023. A clear example that ACT residents are amply aware of the need to be water efficient and are doing their best to work with the ACT Government in managing the ACT water resources.

The majority of domestic water (54%) is used outside the home and of that 39% is used on the garden while the bathroom only uses 20% in comparison. Restricting water use on gardens targets the areas of highest water use.

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