Page 616 - Week 02 - Thursday, 14 February 2013
MR WALL: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services. Minister, residents of Tuggeranong have recently contacted me about the unacceptable level of rubbish, debris and pollution in and around Lake Tuggeranong. Minister, how many times was Lake Tuggeranong closed or partially closed in the last four years?
MR RATTENBURY: Thank you, Mr Wall, for the question. I think there are two issues here. The closure of Lake Tuggeranong, as I understand it, has generally been as a result of blue-green algae infestations. I think that is an issue that is quite separate from the issue of litter around Lake Tuggeranong. I do not have the number of closures on hand. I am happy to take it on notice. If you are after information about how many times it has been closed because of blue-green algae, I can provide that for you at a later point in time, so I will take that on notice.
Generally, though, there is a high level of maintenance undertaken by rangers from Territory and Municipal Services on the lakes and ponds right across Canberra. There are actually three lakes and 49 ponds and wetlands that the agency is responsible for. But in terms of your question, removal of litter from the foreshores of all major lakes and ponds is undertaken every three months. That includes the use of a boat and heavy equipment to remove items illegally dumped, such as trolleys, tyres, car engines and those sorts of things. There is weekly litter picking in town and district parks adjoining the lakes. There is annual work to control environmental weeds such as pest willows and alligator weed, which is specifically in Lake Ginninderra, but this is the sort of maintenance that is undertaken.
Weed control is also undertaken on lake foreshores and beach areas, and beaches are periodically raked and/or topped up with sand to ensure that they remain in a good state. The removal of debris from gross pollutant traps is undertaken twice a year and, in addition, every time there is a rain event that exceeds 25 millimetres. Obviously those larger rain events bring a rush of stormwater into the drains and, with them, a large amount of litter.
They are the key maintenance issues. There are other things but I think that gives you a sense of the sort of maintenance regime that is undertaken on the lakes and ponds. Obviously Lake Tuggeranong is one of those.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Wall.
MR WALL: Minister, can you assure residents that the level of cleanliness around Lake Tuggeranong will be improved?
MR RATTENBURY: As I said, there is already an ongoing program of maintenance, which includes things like the weekly litter picking. If there are specific points of concern, I would be happy to receive additional information, but I have not received any complaints personally of concerns about the appearance or particular litter issues around Lake Tuggeranong. If there are specific problems, we can always seek to schedule an additional maintenance visit.