Page 319 - Week 01 - Thursday, 29 November 2012

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the lake. Those actions recognise the benefits of addressing issues higher up in the catchments at their source rather than at the end of the catchment—in this case, in Lake Burley Griffin.

These actions include ongoing renovation of the stormwater system in Canberra and Queanbeyan; a review of the water sensitive urban design guidelines and their potential for improving water quality; a catchment protection program in rural areas to address erosion hotspots; assessment of the ability of further wetlands and pollution control structures; enhanced compliance and enforcement during construction phases of development; better management of gross pollutant traps; and increased public awareness and compliance and enforcement for illegal parking on public land, especially nature strips and parkland areas.

The task force recommended assessing the potential costs and benefits of water releases from Googong Dam and Captain’s Flat reservoir to help water column manipulation, which may assist in mixing the water temperature layers in the lake and thus inhibiting algal growth. The task force also considered lake closure protocols and communications and recommended that a framework for assessing and managing risks associated with extreme water contamination events be developed.

Significant resources are already being invested in managing water quality in the lake and its catchment by the Australian and ACT governments, and Queanbeyan and Palerang councils, as well as by landholders and the community. The action plan provides indicative costs for proposed actions but does not imply a commitment by any jurisdiction to fund or undertake the actions.

The ACT government will consider in detail the recommendations of the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment and the task force early in the new year. A detailed statement of response to the commissioner’s recommendations will be tabled in the Legislative Assembly. This response will incorporate a government response to the lake task force report.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.15): Ms Berry got it right when she said that the state of our lakes was not an accident and had not happened over just a short period. The most recent report on the state of the environment from the commissioner said there had been an increasing number of events over the last 10 years—10 years in which Labor has been in control. Particularly for the breadth of the most recent report, in the four years under the Labor-Greens alliance we saw the overall state of the environment go backwards and a growth in the number of events on our lakes and waterways.

It is not just an accident. It comes about through years of neglect. It comes about from not taking the state of the environment report seriously and a failure to act on those recommendations, which include the collection of data so that we have a better idea of what is going on in our lakes, in our rivers, in our waterways and in our wetlands.

You only have to go to the theme on land and water in the ACT’s state of the environment report for 2011 where the commissioner says:

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