Page 1295 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2009
water catchments. It is a very important initiative and one that the government is pleased to be moving forward with. The government has set out clearly the time frames to achieve these projects. We expect construction of the Cotter to commence, contingent of course on planning and environmental approvals, in around August this year, for completion in 2011, and we expect Murrumbidgee to Googong and the Tantangara water supply arrangements to be in place again by the year 2011.
Members of the opposition interjecting—
MR CORBELL: Combined, these projects provide water security for the territory. I am amazed, of course, that those opposite think it is some sort of joke, think it is some sort of laughing matter, some sort of a trivial matter, that Canberrans are going to achieve improved water security. But this government treats those issues very seriously.
There is no doubt that we are seeing a sustained change in rainfall patterns here in the ACT and region, as we are right across south-eastern Australia. There is no doubt that this is a consequence of climate change in association with what is clearly a prolonged period of periodic drought. Combined, it has seen the water inflows into our dams reduce by 75 per cent. So the government has to provide a range of responses to deal with these matters. Obviously demand management and augmentation of supply sources to include non-potable supply for certain uses are all part of the solution, as is an augmentation of the supply network itself. The government considers all of these matters to be important and needing to be addressed.
Mr Smyth: Will it be on time and on budget?
MR CORBELL: Those opposite should be embarrassed by their position on this matter, because their position and their only policy on water security has been to build a dam in the Naas valley, which is in a permanent rain shadow. That is the Liberal Party’s policy: to build a dam where it will not rain. That is the extent of their policy—and they have the gall to criticise this government for getting on with the job of delivering water security for Canberrans.
MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Chief Minister in his capacity as the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services. I refer to the $400,000 allocated for a road safety sign and a study into the placement of that sign. How much will be allocated to the study and how much to the sign, Chief Minister? How long will the study take? When will the report be available and where will the sign be manufactured?
MR STANHOPE: This was an issue, of course, that was the subject of questioning during estimates. I am not quite sure that Mrs Dunne bothered to attend estimates, actually to be part of the discussion or, if she did, to listen to the discussion. Mr Smyth certainly asked a number of questions and was satisfied with the level and extent of the questioning and the answers that he received. I believe that is reflected in the report of the committee. I do not know whether Mrs Dunne is expressing a want of confidence in her deputy; I imagine it is about time for the internal wranglings to commence.