Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 13 November 2007) . . Page.. 3306 ..
a water tank being filled from a fire hydrant to be sprayed on the ground for dust suppression at the site of the new superschool in Holt. This constituent was so incensed by what he saw that he stopped his vehicle, took photos and emailed them to me. I have given them to the media and I think he has also complained to the media about it.
I really think this is hypocrisy of the highest order on the government’s part. Here we have a government that is supposedly trying to encourage people to save water. I am not criticising the private sector here, or indeed the contractor, for disobeying the law because you are entitled to fill up at a hydrant and you understand that you pay for it. But with the lower Molonglo treatment works literally a couple of kilometres down the road, five minutes drive and with Actew providing treated effluent which is perfect for building sites for free, why is the government not practising what it is preaching?
I understand, too, that the HIA and the Property Council of Australia have actually been in extensive discussion with Actew in terms of matters such as the quality of water required for building works and accessing treated water for certain usage. That proactive approach taken by industry is to be applauded. What I am criticising here is the do as I say, not as I do attitude of the Stanhope Labor government. Here is a government imposing water restrictions on the people of Canberra but ignoring its own rules and using perfectly good drinking water on a major building site. The government trumpets this site as the great new K-10 superschool.
Mrs Dunne: Environmentally friendly.
MR STEFANIAK: Environmentally friendly, Mrs Dunne says. Some of the foundations are not if they are using drinking water when they could use perfectly good recycled water from the lower Molonglo. I understand that a lot of councils do that. Indeed, up the road in Goulburn that is all they use in their building works.
Water restrictions are costing us dearly. It is a difficult time. It has been a difficult drought and it is costing us in economic, social and health terms. Mr Stanhope today could not or would not acknowledge those costs, and he is not undertaking any study to actually assess them. But businesses are suffering. People are suffering. People are seeing their gardens die. Thousands of trees around the ACT are dying because we are in a drought. We are also seeing the government continue with its plans for the arboretum, and it does make the point that it is using non-potable water for that. That is just as well. There was a furore when it looked like they were using potable water for their arboretum.
But here we have a major government building, a major government construction, a very high profile construction where not just the odd incident, but several incidents in the month of October were reported to the government. I understand that Ms Porter took this matter up and that other people have complained to the government about this continuing to happen.
What has the government done to require government contractors to comply with water restrictions? Are those requirements articulated in government contracts? It would seem clearly not because here we have a contractor using drinking water for