Page 3641 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 22 October 2013

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Crozier, Rebecca Bollinger, Cathy Rouland, the Cummin Family, Sarita Amarathithada and Dan Mawbey. The house would not be able to do what it does without these people.

Finally, I must note that this service, like many in our community, relies so heavily on donations and fundraising. So should you have an opportunity to buy a raffle ticket, attend the ball or even buy a big mac on McHappy Day, I encourage you to do so to ensure this organisation can continue successfully into the future.

Water—Cotter dam

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (5.24): On 12 October I was proud to attend the opening of the newly completed Cotter Dam by the Chief Minister. Joining me was, of course, you, Madam Deputy Speaker, Minister Barr, Minister Burch, Dr Bourke, Mr Doszpot, Mrs Dunne, ACTEW officials and hundreds of Canberrans. The event is a significant one in the history of ACT and Canberra. It provides the ACT with the opportunity to have a much more stable and secure water supply, which will allow the territory and its residents to deal with severe droughts without the necessity of severe water restrictions for well into the future. The dam provides approximately 10 times more storage space for water at a capacity of 78 gigalitres.

Along with these important infrastructural developments, as it always has, the dam provides a location for various forms of recreation. Many Canberrans have been going for picnics and swims by the Cotter River since the original dam was opened in 1915. I have been a regular visitor since a young boy and recall many pleasant visits, including the APTU Christmas parties held down on the river. I still have a Christmas gift from my father’s union that I received when I was about seven years old.

There is a new Cotter Dam discovery trail, providing educational information about the dam as well as good views of the dam and the surrounding area. Part of the plans for construction of the new dam included design features intended to protect various endangered fish and crayfish species in the area. One such project was undertaken in conjunction with the University of Canberra, the ANU and the University of Sydney. This project consists of creating artificial reefs and fish habitats. These were created on the banks of the old dam in areas that were to be inundated by the newly built dam. These reefs are specifically aimed to accommodate the population of Macquarie perch, of which the area has the only stable population in the ACT. Along with the Macquarie perch, these reefs will provide new habitats for other species such as the Murray River crayfish, which is listed as vulnerable, and the famous Murray cod, which is also on the vulnerable list due to problems with water supply in the Murray-Darling Basin and overfishing of the species in the past.

It is a great thing to know that there are opportunities in our area to help maintain species of vulnerable and endangered animals which are having major difficulties in other parts of our country. The work put into this preservation of vulnerable and endangered species in the area has provided great examples and information for the Cotter Dam education program created in conjunction with the dam itself. The program is aimed at students from kindergarten to year 10 and gives a great insight into the intricacies of conservation and environmental consciousness on the face of urban and infrastructural development.

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