Page 617 - Week 02 - Thursday, 14 February 2013

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MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Seselja.

MR SESELJA: In addition to routine maintenance, how much money will be devoted to cleaning up Lake Tuggeranong?

MR RATTENBURY: There has already been a question to the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development about this in a broad sense today, but, as Mr Corbell indicated, the ACT government has worked with the federal government to have in-principle agreement to a $80 million package to improve water quality and do catchment management in the ACT as part of a federal government funding program. The exact details of that program are the responsibility of Mr Corbell’s agencies. What I can say is that a detailed business case for the usage of that money is currently being developed by ESDD, and the details of that will be available at some later point in time.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Is the condition of Lake Tuggeranong and other lakes a factor in the consideration of water sport activities?

MR RATTENBURY: Yes, absolutely, and I think the regular closure of the three main recreational lakes across Canberra is a source of considerable frustration for the community. It is certainly something that I am very aware of. As members know, I am one of those lake users, and it is a problem for us that the lakes are in such a state. That is certainly why I have argued so strongly for us to put a significant effort into cleaning up the lakes across the ACT.

The motion I moved in the Assembly 18 months or so ago now, which asked that the commissioner for the environment conduct an investigation, provided us with an excellent report that has, once and for all I think, clearly identified the problems facing the lakes. Up to that point there had been a level of dispute, I think, amongst various experts about the exact problems that were facing the lakes. The commissioner pulled together all those experts into one group and was able to lay out a definitive case for what the problems are. And they are not all problems we anticipated.

Certainly for Lake Burley Griffin, most people just say, “It’s the Queanbeyan sewage treatment works,” when in fact the research indicates that it is not just that but there are a series of issues driven by urban activities that take place within the ACT. I think in some ways this is good news because it means that the problems are within the power of the ACT government to address, rather than argue with the New South Wales government to simply fund an upgrade of the Queanbeyan sewage treatment works.

But specifically, yes, lake users are affected. I think that is a problem from the point of view of the enjoyment of the lakes by our local residents and from a tourism point of view for events that may have to be postponed because of closure. That is something that we need to get onto and fix our lakes.

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