Page 1702 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 3 May 2011

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MR SPEAKER: Mr Corbell, this is not the subject of the question.

MR CORBELL: It is entirely the subject matter, Mr Speaker, because it is about contrasting different approaches when it comes to infrastructure investment in water security projects in this city and the costs to Canberrans. They would have invested in a piece of infrastructure that was useless, that would have cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build and that would not have delivered the water security our city needed.

In contrast, this government has prudently and in a detailed and extensive way invested in infrastructure that will make the difference. And let us have no doubt about it: long-term investment in water security infrastructure means less cost on the economy, it means less cost on households, because the impact of water restrictions is lessened. We know what the average impact of water restrictions is across the economy. It is in the tens of millions of dollars every year if we face a future with long-term water restrictions.

So building the expanded Cotter Dam, building the Murrumbidgee to Tantangara transfer, is all about providing that long-term water security for our city. And that is an important investment. Are those opposite criticising that investment? Are those opposite suggesting that the alternative should be extended periods of time with severe restrictions? Is that the Liberal Party’s position? Is that their policy? Do they think it would be better for Canberrans to have long-term water restrictions rather than invest now in water security projects?

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: One moment, Mr Corbell. Stop the clocks. Members, we need to quieten it down. It is outrageous behaviour in question time today. Let us have a little bit of decent conduct.

Mr Seselja: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, you did earlier call the minister to order. He ignored you. Much of the interjection has actually been in response to that. Perhaps in calling us to order, you might also enforce your ruling on the minister for water.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you for your advice, Mr Seselja. I just invited the entire chamber to consider its own behaviour. Mr Corbell, let’s have some focus on the question.

MR CORBELL: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I think it is important to contrast this issue of cost and impact on households and the community as a whole. Those opposite would invest in measures which would not deliver water security and which would come at incredible cost. Imagine that. Spending taxpayers’ money on a dam which is in a permanent rain shadow.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Corbell, I think you have made the point.

MR CORBELL: In contrast, this government believes—

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